The following letter to the editor was published in the Observer-Dispatch on September 12, 2019 and was written by Kevin Cunningham, a New Hartford resident.
Fish story one Trump needs to hook into
The 139-pound sturgeon that researchers caught in Oneida Lake recently is not just big in size, but also in importance.
It’s a clear sign of success for New York’s long-running effort to restore this ancient species, listed as threatened since 1983. This success wouldn’t have been possible without federal support from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has contributed billions of dollars to the health, environment and economic wellbeing of communities that live in this region.
The Trump administration, however, is making drastic cuts to the EPA that puts this successful initiative and many others at risk. The White House budget proposal for 2020 cuts EPA staff and funding, with the deepest cuts affecting clean water.
Trump’s proposed budget threatens to undo decades of progress in cleaning up Upstate New York’s lakes and rivers. Many of our local beaches are kept safe for swimming, boating and fishing thanks to grants to address pollution runoff. Trump’s budget also slashes funding for infrastructure improvements to keep sewage out of our waterways.
The sturgeon are not the only ones benefiting from cleaner water. Our lakes and rivers provide us all with safe drinking water, economic vitality, and recreational opportunities. In order to protect our clean water, we must save the EPA. The US House of Representatives has rejected Trump’s EPA budget cuts; now it’s up to our US senators to deliver a budget which supports the clean water that’s so important to us in Upstate New York.