The Great Lakes are a hotspot for many people throughout the year; whether it be for swimming, fishing or boating and taking in the sun during the summer or ice fishing and enjoying the magnificent beauty during the winter. Needless to say there's always a good time to be had at one of the Great Lakes. Because of the recent change in administration, some people are worried that these good times that could be had at the lakes will no longer be an option. In the past, the Great Lakes were largely funded and kept clean to ensure their beauty and health. Today, the White House wants to cut the budget for the Great Lakes and use this money for other things. This will largely affect recreational activities in both Michigan and surrounding states. High School students and families alike will no longer be able to enjoy these leisurely activities in the Great Lakes area due to the defunding of water upkeep. Word about this needs to get out and people need to express their thoughts. This could help show the White House that some people think the defunding would be an awful mistake.
Tourists and Michigan citizens who visit the Great Lakes won’t want to swim if the water isn’t being kept clean. According to Cleveland.com, “ President Trump is cutting good jobs in water infrastructure projects, he is cutting the cleanup of toxic pollution in our drinking water, and he is cutting our tourism revenues, because no one wants to swim, fish, or boat in bright green slop." If anything, people should work together to keep our beaches clean. Picking up trash may not prevent invasive species from entering our waters, but it could at least keep the water and shorelines clean and reduce the danger for the animals inhabiting the lakes. Risk of losing recreational activities is only the tip of the iceberg, since the Great Lakes are relied on by many communities for more life-insuring resources, such as drinking water. As stated in an article by PBS, “Combined, the lakes represent 95 percent of fresh surface water in the U.S. An estimated 40 million people rely on the Great Lakes for drinking water, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”
In attempt to save money, the pipelines in Flint, Michigan were switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River, which then contaminated the water and led to a continuing crisis in drinking water. According to an article by CNN, "The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality failed to treat the corrosive water, which ate into the city's iron and lead pipes, causing lead to leach into the drinking water." Switching water sources led to high blood lead levels in Flint citizens, which are harmful, especially to children. In a story by CNN about a family, the Walters, living in Flint, “The two Walters boys are suffering short term and long term effects from lead exposure, their mother said. Some of the effects are visible. But the boys also suffer developmental issues as well.” People living in Flint are forced to buy bottled water since they don’t have access to clean drinking water."The Walters family still relies solely on bottled water for everything -- drinking, cooking, and bathing. Walters says her family uses 10 cases -- that's 240 bottles -- a day." If the funding cuts continue to happen though, this source could also be taken away, leaving these families and communities with nothing.
A similar situation could occur in North Dakota. The government wants to install a pipeline that could contaminate their water. The goal of the Dakota Pipeline is based around money. BBC News says, “The pipeline would provide a more cost-effective, efficient means of transporting crude, rather than shipping barrels by train.” While the pipeline might save money, it also has a possibility of contaminating the surrounding area’s only source of drinking water. The developers say that they can monitor the pipeline for any leaks. Daily Caller stated, "Developers of the pipeline offered to install water quality sensors, and construct a freshwater storage facility to store water in case of a pipeline leak to the Standing Rock." Pipelines do have leaks and spills on occasion. According to Business Insider, "Since 1995, more than 2,000 significant accidents involving oil and petroleum pipelines have occurred, adding up to roughly $3 billion in property damage, according to data obtained by the Associated Press from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. From 2013 to 2015, an average of 121 accidents happened every year." If oil were to leak from the Dakota Pipeline it would raise serious concerns. Oil spills increase the risk of cancer and using contaminated water can cause skin problems. Not having clean water causes lots of problems for people. Because the pipeline is more cost effective, the fundraiser's route could be looked at in order to raise money for research on safer ways to build pipes or maybe even to fund more checks and cleanings of the pipes. Like in Flint, the people around the Dakota Pipeline would have to buy bottled water if there is a leak in the pipe. Is saving money worth risking the quality of our main water supplies?