Issues & Advocacy

Published on July 5th, 2017 | by GrowWNYAdmin

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Why should we save the EPA?

Author: Ryan McPherson, Chair of the WNYEA

The Alliance is a coalition of over 100 independent organizations that collectively represents the environmental voice for our region.

We mobilize change through collective action and collaboration in order ensure sustainable, thriving ecosystems and communities in Western New York—in other words we greatly value people and the world that sustains them above all else and protection of those two things.

I want you to picture a time in the not too distant past when:

  • Buffalo’s waterways and our lakes were severely polluted—even catching on fire in some places and completely cut off from public access
  • Swaths of our region’s people were breathing in toxic air from industry
  • Vast superfund sites and brownfields dotted the landscape creating direct public health threats—think Love Canal, and countless other examples

While these threats certainly still persist in many places throughout Western New York, our region has made great strides in cleaning up brownfields, advancing renewables and sustainable manufacturing, empowering neighborhoods, and increasing public health by limiting harmful toxins from our air and water.

This success has occurred mainly because of two reasons:

  • Vast efforts from our community who have come together to build a better tomorrow
  • And the forward thinking insight of a Republican administration and others whom founded the Environmental Protection Agency some 47 years ago

The Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Superfund Legislation, the Great Lakes Restoration Fund, and the founding of the EPA itself created critical tools for our community to build a more sustainable economic system that started to value public health and our ecosystem.

In other words the EPA’s work has been critical to two of the most vital things here in WNY—our new emerging economic system and our own health. What could be more important?

Buffalo-Niagara’s future success is contingent not only on smart economic development strategies but also on how we build a more sustainable world that focuses on empowering all our people, stewarding our natural resources, and meeting the challenge of climate change. Without adequate support for the EPA, this simply will not happen.

When I think about what world I want to leave my children—the one prior to 1970 where public health and the environment were an afterthought or the new Buffalo we are building that values each and everyone one of us and is working to build a more sustainable, resilient and empowering environment—the path becomes strikingly clear

But “thinking” about what world we want to leave our kids is not enough—we need to back up these thoughts with investment and funding in the EPA and we need our representatives to take action to support these values.

Thank you.


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