Niagara Gazette

April 22, 2013

Higgins announces Great Lakes bill

Staff Reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Congressman Brian Higgins announced Monday that he has introduced legislation that would provide grants to upgrade wastewater treatment plants in the Great Lakes basin.

“The resurgence of the inner and outer harbors along Lake Erie illustrates the important relationship between the health of the Great Lakes and our community’s economic future,” Higgins said. “This legislation will provide the Great Lakes region with much needed resources necessary to preserve the health and vitality of our national treasure, the Great Lakes.”

The bill would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to identify and provide $500 million in grant funding to install nutrient removal technology. According to Higgins, nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen cause the growth of harmful algae in the Great Lakes. 

Higgins announced the measure with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and Citizens Campaign for the Environment representatives on the shores of Lake Erie Monday — Earth Day.

“Lake Erie faces a greener future, unless we take action. Not the green we associate with Earth Day, but the pea soup green we associate with toxic algal blooms,” Brian Smith, program and communications director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said. “Citizens Campaign for the Environment commends Congressman Higgins for championing this important legislation that will help to address the nutrients that are plaguing our Great Lakes.”

The bill, named the Great Lakes Nutrient Removal Assistance Act, is currently cosponsored by seven legislators who represent districts in the Great Lakes region.