Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions
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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

AUDUBON NEW YORK * CITIZENS CAMPAIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT * ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES OF NEW YORK * NEW YORK HEALING OUR WATERS GREAT LAKES COALITION
For immediate release:
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
For more information contact:
Erica Ringewald, Environmental Advocates of New York, (518) 210‐9903, eringewald@eany.org
Dereth Glance, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, (518) 339‐2853, dglance@citizenscampaign.org
Sean Mahar, Audubon New York, (518)‐253‐7000, smahar@audubon.org

OBAMA BUDGET INCLUDES $300 MILLION TO RESTORE GREAT LAKES & ST. LAWRENCE RIVER

Upstate Communities Will Benefit from Continued Investment to Revitalize New York’s Great Lakes Basin

ALBANY, NY—Great Lakes advocates in New York State urged Congress to bolster funding for Great Lakes restoration programs, following the release of President Obama’s budget on Monday.

The President’s budget includes $300 million for his Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, down from the $475 million requested in his inaugural budget. “The President’s budget request—while lower than what we would have liked—will continue to fund successful programs that restore lakes Erie and Ontario and keep New Yorkers working,” said Albert E. Caccese, Executive Director of Audubon New York. “While Governor Paterson’s state budget fails to recognize the need to fund important environmental restoration initiatives, we’re counting on Congress and the New York Delegation to fully fund solutions to the urgent problems which threaten the Great Lakes before problems get worse and solutions more costly.”

President Obama proposed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative last year in his inaugural budget. The initiative invests in solutions to stop aquatic invasive species that cost the region at least $200 million annually in damage and control costs; clean up contaminated sediments that pose a threat to the health of people and wildlife; and restore wetlands and other habitat that protects water quality, prevents flooding and is the foundation of the region’s outdoor economy.

The health of lakes Erie and Ontario—which provide drinking water to more than three million New York residents—as well as that of the St. Lawrence River, are jeopardized by threats such as toxic contamination, wetlands degradation, sewage overflows and invasive species. Advocates say that inaction or delay in confronting these threats will make the solutions unnecessarily expensive and the threats to water quality harder to address.

“President Obama’s budget includes another critical payment on a multi-year effort to restore lakes Erie and Ontario and revive our economy,” said Katherine Nadeau, Water & Natural Resources Program Associate, Environmental Advocates of New York. “It’s not enough to address every threat to the Great Lakes, but we encourage New York’s Congressional delegation to fund this initiative, put people to work, and restore the lakes and our economy.”

The Brookings Institution found that the eight-state Great Lakes region stands to gain at least $2 in economic benefit for every $1 invested in Great Lakes restoration.

“We will work with President Obama and the U.S. Congress to fulfill the President’s $5 billion commitment to restore the Lakes,” said Dereth Glance, Executive Program Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Implementing Great Lakes restoration solutions is a wise investment to benefit the people, businesses and communities of New York and throughout the Nation.”

In January, a consortium representing states, industry, businesses, conservation organizations and tribes sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to maintain funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million.

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by dcoppola  2/3/10