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Seriously?! NO Great Lakes Restoration funding, ZERO!

March 16th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

Seriously?! NO Great Lakes Restoration funding, ZERO!

Page 42 of President’s budget plan released today “Eliminates funding for…Great Lakes Restoration Initiative”. This program has received bipartisan support in every budget since its inception in 2010. Over $130,000,000 has come to New York State to improve wetlands, fish habitat, invasive species detection and prevention, pollution abatement and other important projects that have created direct and indirect jobs, improving our environment and our economy. Over $6.4 million has been spent directly in the St. Lawrence River watershed.

Zero it out? Seriously. Decidedly. Outrageous!

It is just one part of the budget’s assault on programs that protect the water we depend on for our world-class fisheries, to sustain our recreation and tourism based economy, AND to drink!

Among many other programs cut or zeroed out is a Department of Agriculture program that assists communities with fewer than 10,000 people with water and sewer infrastructure.

It’s hard to imagine describing the St. Lawrence River as “great” if the water is no longer swimmable, fishable, or drinkable.

The President’s budget plan is chock full of disappointments for anyone who has benefitted from the last half century of progress the United States has made in air and water quality and human health.

Common sense tells us we have more to do to make sure every American has access to clean air and water, both basic human rights.

Instead for Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and our members and supporters, this budget is nothing less than a full on assault on the health of one of North America’s most important waterways and the people and communities that depend on it being and staying healthy.

Call the Congressional switchboard, (202) 224-3121, to connect with your Senators & Representative with the simple message “I support clean water programs – GLRI, revolving loan funds, & EPA”. Then call White House with same message (202) 456-1414 or (202) 456-1111.

Please also consider becoming a member of Save The River to strengthen our ability to fight for a healthy St. Lawrence River, now and for generations to come. Add your voice to thousands of others working to preserve, protect and restore one of the great rivers in North America.

#WePersist

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What we are about to lose

February 20th, 2017 | Posted by Lee

It begins; What we are about to lose

Just confirmed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott “Pruitt told the Wall Street Journal on Friday that he expects to quickly withdraw both the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States Rule, the Obama administration’s attempt at clarifying the EPA’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.”

from an article by Natasha Geiling, in ThinkProgress


Graphic from the EPA website (for now): https://www.epa.gov/cleanwaterrule

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Save The River Questions Oil on the River at Great Lakes Forum 2016

October 11th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

Crude oil has no place on the River or its tributaries. While at the Great Lakes Public Forum, Riverkeeper and Save The River’s Executive Director had a chance to remind the panelists of the 1976 Nepco 140 spill of 300,000 gallons of crude oil on the St. Lawrence River – at the time the largest inland oil spill in North America and to ask about measures to deal with spills from pipelines, and rail, as well as ships.

Save The River has been fighting to protect the vulnerable and fragile natural and human environment on the St. Lawrence River for its entire history.

Although refined petroleum products are currently transported on the River, crude oil is not. Two very different and very dangerous types of crude are poised to transit the St. Lawrence River. One, Bakken crude, is extremely volatile, even explosive as seen in numerous “bomb train” incidents in recent years. The other, tar sands oil, is heavy enough to sink in freshwater where, with current technology it is unrecoverable.

Shipping on the St. Lawrence River has long been an all-risk and no-reward proposition, and the shipment of crude oil will exponentially increase the risk to our environment, our economy and our communities.

Having suffered a major oil spill on the St. Lawrence River, we know all too well the risks involved with even traditional cargoes. As pressure increases to bring these dangerous cargoes to the waters of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes, either in the holds of ships, through pipelines or in rail cars, we must take steps to protect our River before it’s too late.

More on Save The River’s position and advocacy to protect the St. Lawrence River from spills.

The whole Great Lakes Public Forum was live streamed by Detroit Public Television’s Great Lakes Now coverage. Click here for their coverage.

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Winter Icebreaking on the St. Lawrence River?

August 18th, 2016 | Posted by Lee

2013 Ice on the River at Clayton“We [Save The River and the River community] remain vigilant to any renewed efforts for destructive ice-breaking for winter shipping and we stand ready to block it again.”

In a August 17 story by Brian Kelly the Watertown Daily Times covers the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Maritime Transportation Strategy that, among other things, “suggests ways the shipping season could be extended.”

Ice-breaking on the St. Lawrence River has not and will not be appropriate – either economically or environmentally.

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We Remember

June 23rd, 2016 | Posted by Lee
40 Years Ago the St. Lawrence River joined the ranks of waterways abused and assaulted by the vagaries of careless industrial use when 300,000 gallons of petroleum was spilled and spread into its countless bays, backwaters and coves.
The River and the communities that depend on it being healthy have never been the same.
The River faces some of the same challenges now as then, but also new ones as well. NCPR helps us remember the “Slick of 76” and put it into a perspective for today, when our River has been named as one of the ten most endangered rivers in America for a water levels plan that predates the NEPCO 140 spill by almost 20 years. http://ow.ly/xwf0301xxBt
The “Slick” reminds us all that vigilance in the effort to protect our freshwater is a must.

40 Years Ago the St. Lawrence River joined the ranks of waterways abused and assaulted by the vagaries of careless industrial use when 300,000 gallons of petroleum was spilled and spread into its countless bays, backwaters and coves.

The River and the communities that depend on it being healthy have never been the same.1976 NEPCO 140 Spill A-Bay Cleanup

The River faces some of the same challenges now as then, but also new ones as well. NCPR helps us remember the “Slick of 76” and put it into a perspective for today, when our River has been named as one of the ten most endangered rivers in America for a water levels plan that predates the NEPCO 140 spill by almost 20 years.

The “Slick” reminds us all that vigilance in the effort to protect our River is a must. Personal action to ensure its health is imperative.

Now the action needed is replacing an outdated water levels plan with a modern one – Plan 2014 – to begin the restoration of the over 64,000 acres of wetlands the River and Lake Ontario have lost, bring back the native species whose populations have been decimated – Northern Pike down 70%, Black Tern down 80% – and give our children and their children the opportunity to know the River our grandparents knew.

Take action – Support Plan 2014.

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Transporting oil via pipelines carries risks

March 1st, 2016 | Posted by admin

Originally published in the Watertown Daily Times on March 1, 2016, from Lee Willbanks Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Save The River Executive Director.

In response to Wednesday’s editorial: “Cruising to Disaster“, Save The River would like to express our enthusiastic support of the editors’ position on the dangers and inappropriate risks of winter navigation on the St. Lawrence River. . . [however] while pipelines may be safer, they are by no means fail safe.

Click here for the full text of the Riverkeeper’s letter.

Kalamazoo River Spill (from EPA)

Kalamazoo River Spill (from EPA)

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Oil Shipments, Winter Navigation, Seaway Expansion – Oh My!

February 23rd, 2016 | Posted by admin

NEPCO 140

from today’s Watertown Daily Times story by Brian Kelly,

Revival of old idea(s) meets resistance

Some bad old ideas never seem to die. But to couple it with a new really bad idea – oil shipments on the St. Lawrence River – is no joke.

For the entire bad story click here: http://ow.ly/YEWyK

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Remembering the River: Iroquois Lock 1957

November 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Lee
Remembering the River:
At 2 pm, November 23, 1957, 58 years ago today, the Canadian Coast Guard ship Grenville became the first ship to pass through the new Iroquois Lock.
This was a test run of the lock, a key facility in the soon to be completed St. Lawrence Seaway system. It is a pivotal event in ushering in the devastating regulation of the once natural levels and flows on the St. Lawrence River.
The damage is well documented – the loss of 64,000 acres of meadow marsh wetlands and the vital ecosystem services they provide, the precipitous decline of Northern Pike and common tern, and the disappearance of muskrat from the River.
A solution exists. Plan 2014 – a modern water levels plan, recommended to the U.S. and Canadian federal governments 18 months ago – will go a long way to restoring the balance, Unfortunately, despite widespread public support from local governments in Canada and the U.S., many federal agencies, over 23,000 signatures on petitions and letters and nearly 100 elected officials, environmental, business and community leaders, Plan 2014 is still unapproved.
The St. Lawrence River needs Plan 2014 now. It’s time to reverse the damage ushered in with the Seaway. Let these key officials know you want Plan 2014 implemented now for the health of the St. Lawrence River:
Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion, via email: stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca
Secretary of State John Kerry, via twitter: @JohnKerry
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, via email (select “Environmental Concerns” under Topic): http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact and via twitter: @GovCuomo

Remembering the River:

At 2 pm, November 23, 1957, 58 years ago today, the Canadian Coast Guard ship Grenville became the first ship to pass through the new Iroquois Lock.Grenville Iroquois Lock Post

This was a test run of the lock, a key facility in the soon to be completed St. Lawrence Seaway system. It is a pivotal event ushering in almost 60 years of devastating regulation of the once natural levels and flows on the St. Lawrence River.

The damage is well documented – the loss of 64,000 acres of meadow marsh wetlands and the vital ecosystem services they provide, the precipitous decline of Northern Pike and common tern, and the disappearance of muskrat from the River.

A solution exists. Plan 2014 – a modern water levels plan, recommended to the U.S. and Canadian federal governments 18 months ago – will go a long way to restoring the balance, Unfortunately, despite widespread public support from local governments in Canada and the U.S., many federal agencies, over 23,000 signatures on petitions and letters and nearly 100 elected officials, environmental, business and community leaders, Plan 2014 is still unapproved.

The St. Lawrence River needs Plan 2014 now. It’s time to reverse the damage ushered in with the Seaway. Let these key officials know you want Plan 2014 implemented now for the health of the St. Lawrence River:

Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion, via email to: stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca

Secretary of State John Kerry, via twitter

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, via email (select “Environmental Concerns” under Topic)

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, via email

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Remembering the River means working to protect it for future generations

November 21st, 2015 | Posted by Lee

Jodrey Pic

41 years ago today the Roy A. Jodrey went down off Alexandria Bay after hitting Pullman Shoal. Over the years she has been the source of contamination from slowly leaking oil left in the port side day tank.

In 2002 a major effort was undertaken to remove the remaining oil. The amount removed was far less than what was expected to be on board. Concern over any oil being left to leak comes from fact that one-quart of oil will foul 150,000 – 250,000 gallons of freshwater. However, since the clean up effort no leaking fuel has been observed.

Ironically on the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Jodrey – eleven years ago – the Seaway corporations and shippers decided to re-brand the St. Lawrence River “Highway H2O”. Doing so created a clever marketing tool, but it also reduced one of North America’s most significant waterways to just another piece of infrastructure.

Recent efforts by the Seaway corporations to market the River as a highway for crude oil – both tar sands and Bakken (“bomb train”) crude – require all of us concerned about the health of the River to focus on andOil Collage fight the threat these cargoes pose to it.

Shipping on the St. Lawrence River has long been an all-risk and no-reward proposition, and the shipment of crude oil will exponentially increase the risk to our environment, our economy and our communities. Having suffered a major oil spill on the St. Lawrence River, we know all too well the risks involved with even traditional cargoes.

As pressure increases to bring these dangerous cargoes to the waters of the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes, we must take steps to protect our River before it’s too late.

Save The River has been fighting to protect the vulnerable natural and human environment on the St. Lawrence River for its entire 37 year history. Join us and support our work on the River by becoming a member today.

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Waterkeepers to convene at UN Conference on Climate Change

November 12th, 2015 | Posted by Lee
This December, Waterkeepers from around the world will convene at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change to tell world leaders what actions they need to take NOW to protect us from climate change and to create a legally binding universal agreement on climate.
Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper is one of the 121 Waterkeepers from over 20 countries that submitted specific calls to action to their government leaders.
We called on:
– U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion to adopt the International Joint Commission’s Plan 2014 for the management of levels and flows on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
– The U.S. and Canadian federal governments to elevate the environment in considerations of transboundary issues and shipping practices by halting “Highway H20” to ban the shipment of crude oil on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
– Federal, state / provincial, local governments to invest in upgrades to sewage systems – municipal, private and individual – and other infrastructure to prevent spills from extreme weather events and to ensure waste is properly treated before discharge to freshwater.
for the full list from all 121 Waterkeepers: http://ow.ly/UA4mP

This December, Waterkeepers from around the world will convene at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change to tell world leaders what actions they need to take NOW to protect us from climate change and to create a legally binding universal agreement on climate.

Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper is one of the 121 Waterkeepers from over 20 countries that submitted specific calls to action to their government leaders.

We called on:

– U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion to adopt the International Joint Commission’s Plan 2014 for the management of levels and flows on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

– The U.S. and Canadian federal governments to elevate the environment in considerations of transboundary issues and shipping practices by halting “Highway H20” to ban the shipment of crude oil on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

– Federal, state / provincial, local governments to invest in upgrades to sewage systems – municipal, private and individual – and other infrastructure to prevent spills from extreme weather events and to ensure waste is properly treated before discharge to freshwater.

for the full list from all 121 Waterkeepers click here

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