Environmental groups call Scott's 'Phosphorus Challenge' a distraction

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont environmental groups says Gov. Phil Scott's challenge to entrepreneurs and scientists this week to remove phosphorus from the environment and re-purpose it should not overshadow other efforts to clean Vermont's waterways.

The governor hopes his Phosphorus Innovation Challenge will identify entrepreneurial projects that can extract and export phosphorous. The state will put up money to determine the viability of three to five projects. Lauren Hierl, political director for Vermont Conservation Voters, says she doesn't want the governor's challenge to distract from the serious task of cleaning Vermont's waterways, or from finding a long-term funding source to pay for it.

"The solutions for just cutting off the spigot of pollution are simple. We know what to do, and really, that's where I think we should be focusing our efforts, not on some gimmicky new projects that are yet to be proven," Hierl said.

The Scott administration says it hopes to have some viable projects ready to roll out in eighteen to twenty-four months.