A recent story on North Country Public Radio was headlined New seaway chief seeks economic, green balance.
According to NCPR, St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. Administrator Betty S. Sutton believes in finding a balance between the jobs and revenue that seaway shipping generates in the Great Lakes on both sides of the border, and protecting the fish, wildlife, plants and water quality of the largest surface fresh water system in the world.
From her record, this rings true. Ms. Sutton demonstrated during her tenure in Congress that she is willing to undertake the challenging work necessary to balance seemingly competing interests.
Sadly in difficult economic times, environmental protections are frequently made the whipping boy for economic woes allowing those seeking easy answers to ignore, relax or jettison them entirely. True leaders will instead make the effort to find solutions that are protective of jobs and the environment.
We at Save the River are encouraged by Ms. Suttons early statements at the seaway. No doubt she has a big job ahead of her, and many tasks will be competing for her attention.
But we, and hopefully others who share this unique waterway, are ready to engage in a constructive effort to improve environmental protections for the St. Lawrence River. An effort we believe, and we believe Ms. Suttons record shows she believes, can go hand in hand with job creation and retention.
We look forward to continuing the dialogue initiated with the seaway under Acting Administrator Craig Middlebrook and hope other interests and levels of government can be brought to the table on the myriad of issues facing the river.
The writer is executive director of the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper, Save the River.