Erie County, New York- Legislator Patrick Burke who garnered national recognition for his ban on microbead plastics, has submitted a resolution expressing his opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposed elimination of the Clean Water Rule, as well as the stark reductions in Environmental Protection Agency funding that would cut funds for the Great Lakes pollution cleanup by 97%.
The Great Lakes are the single greatest source of surface freshwater in the world. Every day over 12 million people rely on Lake Erie as a clean, safe, and reliable source of fresh water. The public outcry in the 1970s over the condition of the Great Lakes was part of the environmental movement that led to the Clean Water Act of 1972 as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Federal funds from the EPA are critical to the completed restoration of the Buffalo River, Niagara River, Scajaquada Creek, Outer Harbor, and Lake Erie projects.
In addition to the safety and quality of life concerns regarding EPA funding, it will also be a major detriment to Western New York’s economy if these federal funds are cut. The EPA and environmental project investment in Western New York is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. These funds contribute to supporting eco-tourism in the region as well as drinking water protections, eliminating sewer overflows, and recreational fishing.
“Clean water is not a partisan issue. It’s a common sense issue. This community was founded on its water. Our local renaissance has been fueled by the water. If this funding gets cut by 97%, it will be a great detriment to the people, wildlife, and economy of Erie County. We cannot allow this to happen.”