This week the Cleveland Plain Dealer sent a shot across the bow of the presidential candidates. In an editorial, it chastised the Obama Administration for doing too little, too late to stop Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. It criticized the Army Corps of Engineers for moving too slowly in finding a permanent solution, and took the Administration to task for failing to support hydrological separation between the Mississippi River Basin and the Great Lakes.
It concluded with, “If Obama really wants to woo voters in the Great Lakes states, he should tell the Army Corps to take the coalition report, crunch the numbers quickly, and start shoveling dirt.”
If this sounds familiar, it should: this is the same logic that prompted the Healing Our Waters Coalition and NWF to issue the Great Lakes Protection and Restoration Presidential Candidates Pledge. Healing Our Waters, the 120-organization coalition dedicated to restoring and protecting the Great Lakes, asked all the candidates for president to pledge to:
- Maintain and if possible increase funding for Great Lakes restoration, and
- Commit to constructing a barrier in the Chicago canals that would hydrologically separate the Mississippi River and Great Lakes watersheds.
President Obama has committed to the funding, but as the Plain Dealer points out so clearly, he’s resisted committing to the long-term measures needed to stop the invasion of Asian carp.
What the Plain Dealer hasn’t said is that thus far, Governor Romney has committed to neither.
I hope both candidates read the Plain Dealer editorial. The largest newspaper in the most critical swing state in the nation is telling them what moves their voters, and guess what? It’s the Great Lakes.
Mr. President and Mr. Governor, how about that pledge?