(Albany, NY) – State Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD) today called on federal representatives to resist drastic cuts being considered for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).
In a letter to Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representatives Brian Higgins and Chris Collins, Jacobs articulated the impact of the program locally. “In our Western New York community, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has helped fund cleanup efforts along the Buffalo and Niagara rivers, where shorelines have been improved, wildlife habitats have been restored, and over a century’s worth of industrialization on our shores is being properly addressed for future generations,” the Senator wrote.
Since its implementation under President George W. Bush, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been historically funded at $300 million. Currently under consideration is a reduction down to $10 million, a level that Jacobs says would not only devastate the program going forward, but also roll back the tremendous progress already made.
“There is so much more work to do to realize the full potential and impact originally envisioned by the GLRI,” said Jacobs. “Elimination of 95% of its funding would put a halt to restoration efforts and make it virtually impossible to maintain the progress made to date.”
A considerable portion of Jacobs’s senate district is bordered by Lake Erie and the Niagara River. He called the effort to maintain funding levels an environmental initiative with great economic development and quality of life consequences.
“From Grand Island to Brant, residents have benefitted from the GLRI funding critical restoration and preservation projects that have enhanced the greatest natural resource in our region,” said Jacobs. “The environmental cleanup has spurred major private sector investment in residential and recreational development that is critical to Buffalo and Western New York’s economic revival,” the Senator concluded.