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Saturday at Burchfield Penney: Forum on Water Quality and Public Policy

Western New York is a water-rich region; indeed, as a vital resource and as a quality-of-life amenity, fresh, clean water is a key to the region’s sustainability, just as its value as a medium of transportation was a key to the region’s past prosperity.

In the last few decades, the region’s waters have begun to recover from more than a century of wanton pollution, in part due to enlightened stewardship and increased regulation, and in part due to the decline and then death of heavy industry. But there’s still a lot of work to do: outdated, deteriorating sewer systems; road and farm runoff; new and insidious industrial discharges, ranging from wastewater produced at gas drilling sites to pharmaceutical waste; and, always, legacy pollution, both documented and undocumented.

Saturday afternoon at the Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College, there will be a forum on regional water quality and the public policy opportunities to improve and sustain it. Beginning at 2pm, the forum, “Clean Water and Western New York’s Future,” will begin with a screening of “Everybody Lives Downstream,” a short film by Anna Scime about the ongoing dredging of the Buffalo River, produced as part of Squeaky Wheel’s Channels series. Participants include Scime, who will talk about the larger film she’s completing about the Buffalo River; Buffalo State geography professor Kim Irvine, who specialties include stormwater management systems; WNY Area Labor Federation president Richard Lipsitz; and Buffalo State visiting professor of economics (and AV columnist) Bruce Fisher, who will talk about clean water initiatives in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse.

The forum is co-sponsored by Artvoice and the Center for Economic and Policy Studies at Buffalo State College, in cooperation with Greenwatch.