Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Your Vermont Caffeine Fix Might Get A Little More Expensive. Blame Lake Champlain.

A tax on coffee in Vermont because people pee
out caffeine? Could happen. 
Many of us Vermonters know that our "West Coast" - Lake Champlain- has some issues.

There's a pretty big pollution problem in the lake, mostly involving phosphorus that is harming wildlife and contributing mightily to some really icky algae blooms.

Vermont is under federal orders to clean the lake up, and the state is scrambling to find the money to do the job.

One state lawmaker has one interesting idea: Adding a tax on coffee.

Here's the logic: People drink coffee. Then they pee. Then (hopefully!) they flush the toilet.

The caffinated pee ends up at the wastewater treatment plant, but the plant can't remove the caffeine from the water. So the wastewater treatment plant discharges the caffeinated water back into the river, which flows into Lake Champlain.

It's hard to believe there's enough caffeine involved to cause a problem, especially when phosphorus is the main troublemaker in the lake. But VTDigger reports that one state lawmaker, David Deen a Democrat from Westminster, says his legislative committee is considering a tax on coffee to deal with the lake pollution.

According to VTDigger, Deen says coffee has become a "compound of emerging concern" in scientific literature.

Currently, there are no reported instances where there's so much caffeine in drinking water to give you a buzz. Levels detected are way, way below those you'd get from your Morning Joe or a your Diet Coke if you're so inclined.

Then again, caffeine is not something that naturally occurs in waterways, so you never know what effect it might have on wildlife.

Caffeine probably has some effect on wildlife, but it looks as it it's not a big a deal as say, discarded pharmaceuticals making their way into aquatic habitats.

Not surprisingly, outfits like Green Mountain Coffee, based in Vermont, don't like the proposed tax because it would make it harder to compete with out of state companies like Starbucks and Peet's

The Vermont caffeine tax is not definite, and it's one of many ideas under consideration to pay for a Lake Champlain cleanup. There's no specific bill yet to be introduced that would tax coffee.

Who knows? Maybe they'll extend this and have you pay a fee every time you go to the toilet for a pee.

You'd sure be in trouble if you didn't have cash or credit cards with you, wouldn't you?

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