Feds must help protect Great Lakes shorelines

It is critical that we maintain a safe, updated, and strong shoreline along Lake Shore Drive,” writes Sen. Dick Durbin, “especially as impacts of climate change will test the strength of Chicago’s shoreline in the years to come.”

SHARE Feds must help protect Great Lakes shorelines

High waves crash the Lake Michigan lakefront trail near Fullerton Avenue on Jan. 11, 2020.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The Sun-Times’ recent editorial is right: the Trump Administration must do more to protect the shorelines of the Great Lakes, including the crown jewel that is our Lake Michigan.

That is why last month I joined a bipartisan group of Great Lakes Senators in sending a letter urging the Trump administration to fund and complete the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study. I helped authorize the study in the 2018 Water Resources Development Act, but the Trump administration has continued to block funding. The study would identify areas in the Great Lakes that are vulnerable to climate change and recommend measures and infrastructure to increase resilience. 

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Additionally, I joined Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Bobby Rush, Danny K. Davis, Mike Quigley and Robin Kelly in sending a letter to the Trump administration to call for funding in order to conduct a reevaluation of the Chicago Shoreline Project. The reevaluation would help expand the shoreline project to additional sections of the lakeshore and protect against rising lake levels.

It is critical that we maintain a safe, updated, and strong shoreline along Lake Shore Drive, especially as impacts of climate change will test the strength of Chicago’s shoreline in the years to come. I’ve made it a priority to fight for federal investments to protect our shoreline in the past — helping secure $185 million for already completed sections of the Army Corps’ Chicago Shoreline project — and I will continue to do so.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois

Save our lake from plastics

Thank you for your article, “Restaurants worry about cost of proposed limits on single-use plastics and foam food containers” [Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 15].  With over half of the 300 million tons of plastic produced globally ending up as single-use plastic, this ordinance illustrates the importance of finding environmentally friendly alternatives for plastic consumption. The exorbitant usage of plastic in Chicago directly threatens the health of Chicago residents and the health of our environment. 

Ninety-percent of the trash collected on Chicago’s lakefront is plastic and when this plastic enters the water, it does not simply disappear. Instead, it breaks down into microplastics, which cannot be filtered by water treatment plants. Ultimately, these plastics end up contaminating our drinking water and food supply. Some studies suggest that we ingest five grams of plastic per week as a result of this contamination! Reducing plastic pollution is an urgent public health danger, and this ordinance will help address that concern through the reduction of polystyrene from the environment, increase in the availability of recyclable and compostable containers, and improved visibility of sustainability practices. 

Emma Latz, Evanston

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