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Letter: Water and air quality must be our top priority

Water and air quality must be our top priority

I applaud The News for its investigative report on our region’s water quality. It is ironic that a species whose physical being is mostly made up of water would permit it to be so badly degraded. Some say we just can’t afford it. Yet, our politicians spend millions on a football stadium for seven events per year. We also allow our elected officials to spend millions playing games with a bridge over our Niagara River that only needs to be adequately staffed to be efficient. Once you cross to the Canadian side, all gates are open and manned. We need to stop fussing with the bridge and be more concerned about the quality of the water flowing under it.

Perhaps job one for the Legislature should not be a Bills contract or a new bridge. Our water and air quality must be our top priority. Why does it take the Clean Air Coalition, a volunteer citizen activist group, to bring about the punishment of Tonawanda Coke for destroying our air and water? Where is the government stewardship when we have a veritable treasure trove of hydrologists, scientists and all sorts of wonderful experts at our universities and environmental companies?

It is sorely lacking because politics is more important than people, and getting jobs for political insiders trumps polices. For example, county legislators put party cronies, washed-up officeholders and other political hacks on critical oversight bodies like the Erie County Water Authority. This has been going on for decades. Remember, when the sewage backs up along the Lake Erie shore off Hamburg, it heads directly toward the drinking water intake at the mouth of the Niagara River. Remember that pretty visual the next time you turn on the faucet.

Joe N. Weiss, Ph.D.