By Lawrence Belanger
Local Journalism Initiative
A proposed pollution treatment plant in Vermont on Lake Memphremagog at the Coventry landfill site is being opposed by environmentalists on both sides of the border. “Don’t Undermine Memphremagog’s Purity” (DUMP) has filed a formal appeal to the Vermont Environmental Court in opposition to the permit, issued last December, believing that the approval jeopardizes the safety of Memphremagog’s drinking water as well as the larger ecosystem of the lake. Henry Coe, DUMP’s executive director, says that they’re afraid that once the plant opens, it will be “a foot in the door for additional development at the landfill”.
Coe, who resides in Vermont, has been working alongside Québec residents like Johanne Lavoie, the volunteer president of Memphremagog Conservation Inc. (MCI), which is a member of DUMP, for the last four years to protect this lake, although conservation efforts date back much farther. Most notably, a moratorium on dumping leachate into the lake was reached between environmentalists and the company and included in the terms of the landfill’s last expansion.