The passage of another Earth Day offers an opportunity for residents in Niagara County to take stock of their place on the planet.
This county has the potential to celebrate future Earth Days in much grander fashion, provided that local, state and federal officials continue to make wise choices about the management of our precious natural resources.
The fact of the matter is, our community is making strides to become more environmentally wise and “green.”
Need some examples?
For one, Niagara Falls is currently undertaking one of the most significant infrastructure changes in recent years with the removal of the northern section of the Robert Moses Parkway from the city line north to Findlay Drive. The project will result in all four lanes of pavement in the area being removed and replaced with more pedestrian-friendly green space that features bike and walking paths.
Locally, the project has been touted as a potential game-changer for the Falls and its connection to the wonders of the Niagara Gorge.
Statewide, nationally and even globally, it should be promoted as evidence that the city that long thrived on manufacturing is taking a big step to become more of an eco-friendly place for residents and visitors alike.
In Lewiston, the push is still on to advance a now-approved plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finally remove the byproducts of early nuclear weapon development from the Niagara Falls Storage Site.
Cleanup advocate U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, recently asked members of Congress to allocate $250 million for the effort. Yes, that’s a lot of money, but it’s not too much money. Cleanup is a project that promises significant benefits, the most obvious one being the removal of radioactive material from nearby neighborhoods and schools. Beyond eliminating a potential health risk for the community, such a project offers a chance to celebrate significant change in Western New York, on a local, state, national and even global level. Cleanup of NFSS would represent one of the largest projects of its kind in the nation’s history and would shine a spotlight on Lewiston and the surrounding area.
Finally, another toxic waste site is currently under consideration for expansion in the town of Porter. CWM Chemical Service’s request to add a new hazardous waste disposal site is currently subject to review by a state siting board. The final decision promises to have a big impact on the community.
This newspaper’s editorial board is on record as supporting local efforts to put an end to CWM’s local operation and, thus, end the importation of hazardous waste into Niagara County. It’s the wisest choice for the health and the future of our community as a whole.
For too long, communities in Niagara County have failed to adapt to changing times, longing instead for the “good old days” when so many people earned a living through industrial jobs that are no longer around. As they transition to more of a tourism-based economy, it’s important to advance projects like parkway removal and radioactive waste cleanup, which send a message to the wider world that this place is changing and is capable of supporting clean, healthy living and prosperity.