Leahy secures $3.9M for VLS program
By Christian Avard
Federal funding for an international environmental advocacy program in Vermont has been saved, for now.
Sen. Patrick Leahy secured $3.9 million recently for the U.S.-China Partnership For Environmental Law, a joint program between the Vermont Law School in South Royalton and the Institute for Sustainable Communities in Montpelier.
The program has trained thousands of Chinese lawyers, citizen advocates and educators to solve environmental and energy challenges through the rule of law.
The Vermont-based program was on track for another year’s work until funding was held back in the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. It was the first time the program’s funding was held back by Congress but it was not an isolated case, according to Leahy Spokesman David Carle.
“They’ve held up funds for many programs, including things that Republicans, Democrats, and the Obama Administration have supported for years. We’ve never run into such a roadblock before,” Carle said.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee never gave Leahy staffers a credible explanation why they held back the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law’s funding, according to Carle. A call made to Committee of Foreign Affairs Press Contact Brad Goehner was not returned.
The ISC was supposed to receive the federal funds last December and last through Oct. 2013, he said. ISC Executive Director George Hamilton was grateful for Leahy’s efforts.
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