Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the recent problem with Toledo’s drinking water stands as proof that climate change is overrunning water supplies with algae.
Officials said the summer heat in combination with fertilizer runoff resulted in the Lake Erie algae bloom that contaminated tap water for thousands of residents in the region. Toledo’s drinking water ban lasted for three days.
“This country faces a lot of crisis. One of the areas that we have not focused on enough is the situation regarding water. And it’s not just Toledo and its not just Vermont. It is lakes all over the country that are being overrun by algae because of phosphorus runoff. And what we have is a situation in states and in Washington where the Republican Party basically says, ‘Freedom is about allowing polluters to destroy our air, our land’ and in this case our water. And I think that is pretty crazy,” Sanders told MSNBC last night.
“Common sense suggest that we’ve got to do everything that we can to protect clean, drinking water in this country,” the senator continued, adding that “climate change and global warming is making a bad situation even worse.”
“On top of all of that, many of us recognize that we need massive investments in infrastructure in America. And most people think, well, infrastructural roads and bridges and rail. Yes it is. But it is also water plants and waste water systems,” he said.
“The truth is that for a small city or a town or a state government, building the kind of quality waste water plants that we need to that water — so that runoff getting into the water is clean, is inexpensive proposition. And in my view the government has got to be very aggressive in Washington in making sure we rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and that certainly includes waste water plants and water systems.”
Sanders said in his home state they’re “working very hard with farmers to significantly reduce the amount of phosphorus getting into our lake.”
“But I could tell you, I was mayor of Burlington Vermont in the early ’80s. And we built — we constructed one of the major environmental projects in the history of the State of Vermont, and that is building a new source separation project,” he said.
“It was very, very expensive, but we had help from the Federal Government. And the Federal Government cannot continue to turn its back on the needs of cities and towns all over this country with Republicans saying, ‘No, we don’t want to invest in infrastructure.’ The direct result will be, more and more situations where the water we drink will be polluted, where you’ll have huge amounts of leakage of clean water causing all kinds of problems in cities and towns all over America.”
Sanders said “if we invest in infrastructure we get clean water.”
“If we make sure that we have sufficient regulation we can control the amount of phosphorus getting into our lakes and rivers.”