A year ago, the Trump administration proposed entirely eliminating funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but lawmakers stood firm and refused to let it happen. Well, it's time to stand up again.
The proposed 2019 federal budget would cut Great Lakes funding from $300 million to $30 million — a 90-percent reduction in programming to clean up targeted areas; prevent and control invasive species; reduce nutrient runoff; and restore wildlife habitats.
Environmental Protection Agency money for Lake Champlain and other waterways across the country would be eliminated, with a plan to have the EPA "encourage state, tribal and local entities to continue making progress."
As we've seen locally, the impact of pollution, algae and invasive species can quickly get out of control. And if freshwater resources are allowed to degrade, the impacts are enormous. With that in mind, compare the size of the Finger Lakes and the Great Lakes and it's easy to see what an enormous resource the Great Lakes are and how many people are directly affected by them.
The science, study and implementation of preventative measures and remediation are expensive endeavors, and local governments can't possibly be expected to coordinate the efforts needed to improve the Great Lakes, much less pay the costs.
Our representatives in Washington need to take notice of the short-sighted and dangerous proposal to drastically cut EPA funding and take steps to ensure that it doesn't happen.
The Citizen Editorial Board includes publisher Rob Forcey, managing editor Mike Dowd and executive editor Jeremy Boyer.