Buffalo, NY – Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) and the Citizens Campaign for the Environment welcomed representatives from local, state and national organizations to an open dialogue on issues important to the future of the Great Lakes.
“The Great Lakes are our region’s most vital natural resource,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the House of Representatives Great Lakes Task Force. “Historically, the lakes shaped this region as a port welcoming settlers, commerce and growth. The long-tem health and vibrancy of this fresh water source is fundamental to the future of our environment and quality of life for those who will enjoy the lakes for generations to come.”
Organizations attending the meeting included: the United States Army Corps, Sierra Club, Southtowns Walleye Association, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers, Great Lakes Sports Fishing Council, University at Buffalo Environmental Law program, Great Lakes United, Seneca Nation, Audubon NY, Buffalo Audubon Society, Jamestown Audubon Society, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Attorney General’s Office, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Issues discussed at the roundtable ranged from water quality, invasive species, and fisheries to environmental research, water diversion and habitat restoration.
“Citizens Campaign for the Environment praises Congressman Higgins leadership fro convening federal, state and local environmental leaders to tackle the challenges of revitalizing the Great Lakes and our local economy,” said Brian Smith, WNY Program Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) was formed in 1985 by a small group of concerned citizens who recognized the need to provide public involvement in the course of advancing stronger environmental policy. Today, after 20 years as a not-for-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization, CCE has grown to an 80,000-member organization with offices in Farmingdale, NY, White Plains, NY, Albany, NY, Syracuse, NY, Buffalo, NY, and New Haven, CT.
Congressman Higgins has been a leading advocate for protection and restoration of the lakes. Earlier this year the Congressman introduced H.R. 3331, a bill to prohibit as a banned hazardous substance, certain household dishwashing detergent containing phosphorus. When discharged into waterways phosphorus causes excessive growth of weeds and algae which rob the water of oxygen that fish need to survive, limit recreational use of waterways and create foul odors. He is also a cosponsor of the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act, the Beach Protection Act, the Clean Water Restoration Act and the Water Quality Investment Act.