Great Lakes Success Story

Published December 15, 2005

Dear Editor:

Your December 9 article, “Scientists Warn Great Lakes Near Collapse,” literally took my breath way.

As the editor of Wiley Interscience’s recently released Water Encyclopedia, I read numerous governmental reports regarding the progress being made toward improving the Great Lakes ecosystem. With virtually no exceptions, reductions of contaminant inputs across the board have resulted in improved water quality and an enhanced aquatic environment. While the job of Great Lakes restoration is far from over, the citizens, industry, and municipalities residing in the Great Lakes region can pause for a moment of self-congratulation before getting on with their work to make matters better yet.

I suspect that the horribly distorted hand-wringing by the politicians and environmental advocacy groups who spawned your article was intended precisely to undercut any sense of accomplishment that might be felt by those of us who reside in the Great Lakes region.

If one investigates all of the scary buzzwords in the article–sewage, fouled beaches, declining fish populations, and fish-tainting toxins–one finds improvement on all fronts.

It is time that such fear-mongering ends. We do not need $20 billion of federal taxpayer money, as a coalition of activists (who would undoubtedly share in the money) call for. We need to continue current programs of education and increased awareness to ensure that all of those whose activities touch the Lakes do so with greater care in the future than in the past.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D.
Ostrander, Ohio

Jay Lehr ([email protected]) is Science Director for The Heartland Institute, a national nonprofit organization based in Chicago.