Government officials in Vermont have recently been calling for the closure of the Champlain Canal System to prevent the spread of the spiny water flea, an invasive species. Assemblyman Tony Jordan (R,I,C-Jackson), while sensitive to the environmental impacts of invasive species, said today that closure of the commercial waterway would pose an even greater threat to the economies of small, struggling communities.
Earlier today, Jordan sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo requesting a joint investigation of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Canal Corporation to study alternative solutions that would prevent the spread of the spiny water flea while allowing the canal to remain open.
“There is no question that the health and vitality of our waterways is critically important to all of us, especially those who live and work on Lake Champlain and along the Champlain Canal System. In these economically sensitive times, however, we must find solutions that protect our environment without harming the businesses, tourism industry and communities that these waterways serve,” said Jordan. “I believe we must dispatch our best environmental scientists and thinkers from the DEC and the Canal Corporation to find alternative solutions to keep our waterways healthy without closing the canal, which is so important to the communities I represent.”
The Champlain Canal is estimated to bring $43.5 million into the local communities surrounding it. Closure of the canal system would be a devastating loss to many small businesses that rely on the waterway.