Congressman points to environmental and economic significance and recognizes protection efforts by advocates
Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, a member of the bipartisan Congressional Great Lakes Task Force, discussed the importance of the Great Lakes from both an environmental and economic standpoint at a Washington, D.C., summit and on the House Floor.
The summit was hosted by the Northeast-Midwest Institute, a nonpartisan, research-based organization whose mission is to promote economic vitality, environmental quality, and regional equity for the 18 Northeastern and Midwestern states. Other speakers included: Cameron Davis, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency senior adviser on Great Lakes Issues; Great Lakes Task Force member Rep. David Joyce; Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Chair David Ullrich; and NEMWI President Allegra Cangelosi.
Below are Higgins' remarks on the House Floor:
"This afternoon, I look forward to addressing the Great Lakes Environmental Summit.
"The history of Buffalo is deeply rooted in the Great Lakes, as easy access to Lake Erie fueled a thriving manufacturing industry, and our future is also bright thanks to growing public and private investment in the waterfront.
"Moreover, the Great Lakes support 1.5 million jobs and $62 billion in wages per year. A report by the Brookings Institution found that every $1 invested in restoration generates $2 in economic benefit and up to $4 in economic activity through jobs, development and increased property values.
"But in order to realize these benefits, we must protect from outside threats, like nutrient runoff, invasive species, and harmful algae blooms.
"I commend the work of advocates, like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers (sic), Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and my colleagues on the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force for taking action on protecting and preserving this vital natural resource."
Higgins' district borders Lake Erie. He has been a staunch advocate for protection of the water and investments on the waterfront. The Great Lakes represent the largest surface source of fresh water on this planet.