February 17, 2018

Trump budget again targets regional water cleanup programs like Chesapeake Bay

15 February 2018, 07:40 | Cassandra Thompson

President Trump has proposed cutting by 90 percent the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

President Trump has proposed cutting by 90 percent the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

President Donald Trump's 2019 budget proposal is both right and wrong when it comes to an ongoing project to clean up the Great Lakes.

President Trump pushed again Monday to slash funding for the Great Lakes - repeating a move he made unsuccessfully previous year. The other programs receive significantly less federal funding. Bill Huizenga, Michigan (R): "The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative plays a leading role in preserving and restoring the Great Lakes ecology while strengthening the Great Lakes economy".

"If there's one thing we've learned, we can't take it for granted that others understand how important our water is", she said, calling the budget proposal "outrageous". Advocates say they'll resist the proposed spending cuts.

Started in 2010, the GLRI provides annual money for Great Lakes toxic sediment removal and invasive species management and is popular among lawmakers representing Midwestern states, particularly in MI. Pruitt went so far as to say it was doing more to protect public health in the Great Lakes than any other coordinated interagency effort in USA history. He said he plans to continue working to protect the Great Lakes and keep the GLRI fully funded. "The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a vital tool used to boost our Great Lakes both environmentally and economically".

But Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center Mike Shriberg is not so upbeat.

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The budget recommendation, released Monday, would also slash funding by 90% for programs to eliminate pollution in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest estuary.

A year ago, the Trump administration proposed entirely eliminating funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but lawmakers stood firm and refused to let it happen.

The Great Lakes program is the largest, taking in about $300 million annually since it was established in 2010.

"If there were to be any kind of substantial cuts, I think it would be hard to improve water quality", Dodson said.

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