Don't gut -- conserve

11-07-2011 // Editorial

This excerpt is from Toledo Blade.

The stench of toxic algae drives down property values and discourages tourism. As algae blooms deplete the lake of oxygen, fish will scatter to more-remote areas. That will drive away jobs associated with fishing and recreational boating.

Four Republicans from the Lake Erie region -- U.S. Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Reps. Dave Camp and Fred Upton of Michigan -- sit on the 12-member super-committee. The panel is tasked with recommending $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years.

Preserving federal funds for environmental programs would save, not cost, money. If lawmakers seek places to cut, the National Wildlife Federation proposes a $100 billion reduction in tax giveaways to big oil, coal, and ethanol.

The federation warns that other Great Lakes programs are vulnerable to cuts, including those designed to keep Asian carp and other invasive species from colonizing Lake Erie. Other targets are low-interest loans to communities to curb sewage overflows into waterways, and habit-restoration work that is vital for tourism related to birding and fishing.

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