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Great Lakes areas of concern. Graphic: <a href="http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/images/aoc-glbasin-map-20130215.pdf">US EPA</a>
Great Lakes areas of concern. Graphic: US EPA

Schumer: Protection coming for NYS, Great Lakes beaches

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New York Senator Chuck Schumer says the water quality along the Great Lakes continues to worsen.

Schumer is co-sponsoring a bill that would remediate contaminated sediment, help clean up toxic pollution, combat invasive species and keep watersheds clean.

He is also pushing to reinstate $10 million in federal dollars to the BEACH Act, which was recently cut from the 2014 budget, to help keep polluted beach water safe for swimmers.

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Reported by

Carlet Cleare
Reporter, The Innovation Trail

"We finally have a comprehensive program that wouldn't just deal with one issue at a time while the beach is closed because of another issue, but look at the whole program,” Schumer says.

And, he adds, the bill’s success might not be far off.

“We have a broad bipartisan coalition democrats and republicans and it seems to be on the edge of passing."

Schumer stopped in Rochester Tuesday to announce two programs which aim to keep beaches in the Monroe County area in western New York off the EPA’s Area of Concern list.

Ontario Beach has been rated one of the worst beaches in the country because of its problems with bacteria.

He says Monroe County could stand to receive tens of millions of dollars from his $475 million-a-year plan.

The senator says it’s high time the problem of contaminated water in the Great Lakes was addressed.

"These beaches are beautiful. They are a great resource, they attract people from far away to come eat in restaurants, walk around the waterfront and go to the shops. We need the money and we're going to fight to get it."

Monroe's County executive says they haven't had access to this type of money to fix Ontario Beach's algae problem.

The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan.

Bills 113s571is known as the Great Lakes Water Protection Act.

Reporting by the Innovation Trail is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Visit innovationtrail.org.

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