Lake Erie at Risk – Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Calls for Swift Action to Address Threat to Health of Great Lakes

U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)Warns of Significant Harmful Algal Bloom, Which Are Toxic to People & Animals, in Lake Erie

“As climate change increases the threat of algal blooms, our efforts (to address (the harmful effects of this problem in the Lake Erie basin) must escalate proportionately.”                                           – Brian Higgins, U.S. Congressman

News from the Buffalo, New York Office of U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted July 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large 

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

In a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is calling for swift action in response to new warning about toxic algae threatening the health of the Great Lakes and the communities around them.

Higgins letter calls on the EPA to accelerate efforts to combat Harmful Algal Blooms, writing, “Such a bloom may impact the health of the entire lake, including the eastern basin near my district in Buffalo, New York. As climate change increases the threat of algal blooms, our efforts must escalate proportionately.”

The green algae mass, seen from space as it grows in the western end of Lake Erie, and working its way to the lake’s eastern end off the shores of Buffalo and Niagara.

This week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a warning predicting a harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie. Continue reading

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When Will The Killing Ever End?

“Together, we must create a safer, more peaceful world, where the media freedom so central to healthy democracies and strong societies can flourish.”                                                                               – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh, another light for peace and love put out by war and hate

A Statement by the Prime Minister on the terrorist attack in Somalia that killed Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh, July 14, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario

Posted July 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (this July 14th) issued the following statement on the terrorist attack in Somalia:

“On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Hodan Nalayeh, a Somali-Canadian journalist who, together with her husband Farid, was killed in the terrorist attack in Kismayo, Somalia. Our thoughts are also with those who were injured or lost loved ones. Continue reading

The Ongoing Work to Restore a Niagara River Watershed that is So Vital to the Health and Welfare of All Who Live Here

A Brief Look at the History and the Current Status of Efforts to Protect  and Preserve this Watershed for Generations to Come.

And a Few Words on How You Can Stay Informed on the Restoration Work as it Continues

By Doug Draper

Posted July 12th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

The waters of the American and Horseshoe Falls spill to the lower Niagara River

It hardly needs to be said that the Niagara River and the numerous tributaries  draining  into it play a vital role in the quality of life, including the health and economic prosperity of people and communities on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border.

Yet we have not always shown this sprawling watershed the respect and the care it needs to continue playing that priceless role. 

By the middle decades of the last century, growing numbers of citizens and civic leaders on both sides of the border began sounding alarm bells about discharges of pollution to the Niagara River that, according to a report from one Maid of the Mist captain at the time, made the water below the Horseshoe and American Falls smell like “airplane glue”. Continue reading

Rejecting Trump’s Claims Of Protecting Great Lakes Waters and Environment at Large

“President Trump’s damaging attacks on clean water stand in stark contrast to any claims of protecting the Great Lakes. The visible toxic algae blooms and green slime plaguing Lake Erie and other waterways in recent years are visual evidence that the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies are moving the Midwest backwards not forwards.”                                                                                                     – Howard A. Learner, Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center based in the U.S. Midwest

The following is from the Environmental Law & Policy Center, a public advocacy organization in the United States with a long history of addresses  issues affecting the health of  the Great Lakes

Posted July 12th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Environmental Law & Policy Center Rejects President Trump’s Claims of Protecting the Environment    

“The Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies are moving the Midwest backwards not forwards”

Statement By Howard A. Learner, Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center, in response to President Trump’s remarks (this July 8th, attempting to defend his environmental record at a White House gathering:

“President Trump’s damaging attacks on clean water stand in stark contrast to any claims of protecting the Great Lakes. The visible toxic algae blooms and green slime plaguing Lake Erie and other waterways in recent years are visual evidence that the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies are moving the Midwest backwards not forwards.” Continue reading

Buffalo’s Award-Winning Philharmonic Orchestra – BPO – Performs at City’s Historic Central Terminal

Saturday, July 13th in Buffalo, New York

Buffalo’s historic Central Terminal under restoration. One of the grand structures from the heyday of rail travel

“Experience the rich history of Buffalo’s East Side as seen through the lens of the cultural and culinary organizations that still thrive there.”

Posted July 11th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

East Side Festival
Buffalo Central Terminal
Saturday, July 13
FREE! No tickets or reservations required

Doors open at 1:30 PM
Music performances begin at 2 PM
Central Terminal tours begin at 2:30 PM
BPO concert at 7:30 PM

The BPO, in collaboration with the BPO Diversity Council, the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation and Senator Timothy Kennedy, is spearheading a daylong cultural festival that celebrates the 90th anniversary of the Central Terminal and the cultural heritage of Buffalo’s East Side.

This FREE one day festival takes place on Saturday, July 13 with a full orchestral concert from your BPO serving as the grand finale of the day! Continue reading

Paving Paradise – Gutting Planning Rules Sacrifices Natural Heritage to Urban Sprawl

“They paved paradise, put up a parking lot. …”

– Joni Mitchell, from Big Yellow Taxi, 1969 

How much more of our natural heritage are we going to cover over with low-density sprawl like this?

A Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted July 11th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

To repeat one of those mangled phrases made famous by the late New York Yankees baseball legend Yogi Berra; “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

It is a phrase that seems fitting in Ontario these days as the province’s current premier, Doug Ford, and his Tory government take us back a couple of decades to the dark years of Ford’s old friend and mentor, former Tory premier Mike Harris, when cutting and gutting policies and programs for protecting what is left of our natural heritage to unleashing low -density urban sprawl was the rule of the day. 

Doug Ford, then still leader of the opposition Ontario PC Party, in Niagara Falls, already pledging  to make Ontario “open for business” in the weeks leading up to the June, 2018 provincial election

Under a mantra of “open for business” (as if all our province and the regions in it are is venues for doing business), the Ford government has been changing rules and regulations in ways that make it easier for the greediest and most irresponsible and backward-thinking members of the development industry to have a hay day with lands that should otherwise be protected and preserved for farming and for supporting a health and rich diversity of life (including ours) on this planet.

Like Harris before him, Ford’s “open for  business” mantra is, among other things, a way of selling us on the idea that we have to make a choice between economic growth and environmental protection or that when it comes to our wetlands, for example, we have to continue accepting a balance between urban growth and what few wetlands or meadows or forests we have left. Continue reading

Ford Government’s War on Environmental Protection Includes Secretly Cancelling 227 Clean Energy Projects

“Doug Ford’s crusade against the environment has got to  be stopped. We’re already experiencing more floods, wildfires and tornadoes in Ontario, and if we don’t take action to fight the climate crisis, our children and grandchildren will pay an unthinkable price.”                                                                                      – Ontario NDP Energy and Climate Change critic Peter Tabuns

A Statement from the Ontario New Democraric Party

Posted June 10th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Doug Ford took advantage of the Wynne’s lack of transparency on cap and trade to drag Ontario backwards

Much of the light is out for green energy projects in Ontario while other jurisdictions around the world lead the way to a greener, cleaner economies

TORONTO – NDP Energy and Climate Change critic Peter Tabuns released the following statement in response to a National Observer report that Doug Ford secretly cancelled 227 clean energy projects as a result of ripping up Ontario’s cap and trade deal:

“By cancelling 227 clean energy projects Doug Ford has cancelled jobs, and signed off on even more emissions to feed the climate crisis.

Thanks to a National Observer report, we now know Doug Ford secretly scrapped a project that would have made a community centre in Etobicoke net-zero, cancelled a zero-emissions child care centre construction project, and stopped the conversion of  TTC busses to electric – along with hundreds of other projects. These investments lower emissions, fight climate change and create jobs. Wynne and the Liberals let us down – they should have been transparent about all the projects being funded through cap and trade.

Doug Ford’s crusade against the environment has got to be stopped. We’re already experiencing more floods, wildfires and tornadoes in Ontario, and if we don’t take action to fight the climate crisis, our children and grandchildren will pay an unthinkable price.”

A Footnote  from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

If you wonder why Niagara At Large is coming down so hard – with no apologies – on Ford, Scheer and the like, this is why

Ontario Premier Doug Ford (left) and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, in 19th century cowboy costumes at the Calgary Stampede, with their tar pipe dreams and hopes of seeing their pal Andrew Scheer elected Canadian prime minister in October

This second week of July , Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his pal, Alberta t Premier Jason Kenney, gathered at the Calgary Stampede with some of their other extreme right allies, wearing 19th century cowboy costumes and vowing to keep Ontario, Alberta and the rest of Canada (if they can help get fellow climate laggard Andrew Scheer elected prime minister this October) stuck in the 20th century when it comes to continuing to produce, transport via pipes and burn up dirty energy that is ravaging what is left of a health planet for future generations.

As a veteran environment writer and environmentalist with a daughter in her 20s, I believe that we have to take the gloves off and slam back at these dangerous, morally bankrupt clowns, the dirty energy interests they represent, and all others who support them with their donations and their votes.

Federal Tory leader Andrew Scheer (left) sharing the stage with Ontario Premier Doug Ford. If and when these two win, the future of our planet is the loser

Collectively, they are complicit in placing the future of our children, grandchildren and all life on this planet in jeopardy.

The rest of us, whether we are journalists, politicians and public servants, members of the private sector or whatever our station in life, have got to stop Ford, Kenney, Scheer and their like before they do any more to damage and destroy efforts to protect and preserve the life-sustaining resources of the only place in this universe where we have a home.

For anyone out there wondering why this journalist, on this news and commentary site is coming out so aggressively against what Ford and his ilk are doing  in the areas of environmental protection, endangered species protection, conservation, energy, transportation and transit, and urban planning, that is the reason.

The future of my daughter and her generation, and generations not yet born is the reason.

Please join in the fight to stop the war on our environment by the likes of Ford, Kenny and Scheer, and Trump across the border.

There is no “planet B” and there is no other option but to stop playing nice with these dangerous dinosaurs and fight as hard as we have to until they and their tar pits and pipes, and the  greedy interests they represent are consigned to the ash piles of history.

In this October’s federal election in Canada, vote for the future of our planet.

Let’s hope and pray that our American neighbours do the same in November, 2020.

  • Doug Draper, journalist, Niagara At Large

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“A politician thinks of the next election. a leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders