Originally published by The Buffalo News
March 9, 2017
The Great Lakes are among America’s greatest natural treasures. It’s an ecosystem epic in size and breathtaking in beauty. It instills a sense of national pride for the 85 million people who live in the region.
That’s why President Trump’s proposed EPA budget, which slashes funding to protect and restore the lakes by 97 percent, is so alarming. Since 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has funded over 2,000 projects that improve water quality, protect native wildlife, control invasive species and clean up toxic pollutants. Cutting the GLRI budget from $300 million annually to a mere $10 million halts all of this important work, impacting not only our waters and wildlife, but the millions of people who call this region our home.
These projects add up to regional impact for cleaner water, healthy habitat and vibrant communities across the eight Great Lakes states. Western New York has seen habitat restoration along the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers, removal of toxins from area waterways and improving critical infrastructure. Important work remains to be done. We urge Congress to oppose this drastic cut. The Great Lakes provide shelter, nourishment and rest for millions of threatened migratory birds during their long journeys. Thousands of raptors, waterfowl and wetland birds rely on these lakes for safe nesting grounds.