President Trump’s proposed new budget would cut 90% of the funding for the successful Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. This is a continuation of Trump’s War on the Great Lakes. He just doesn’t get that the Great Lakes is a global gem where we live, work and play. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is vitally important and successful. It is a model federal program providing great benefits, and it is working well.
As my invited testimony two weeks ago to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, chaired by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and with ranking minority Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) explains, this is the time for Congress to step up and increase funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative up to the original FY 2010 level of $475 million annual funding. The Great Lakes face increased challenges from harmful algae blooms in western Lake Erie, Green Bay, Lake Superior and other places, and the impacts of climate change realities are creating much more stress on Great Lakes infrastructure and the ecosystem. The best defense is a good offense.
Trump’s War on the Great Lakes continues as his administration cuts funds for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, considers a drastic cut to the size of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron, fails to address toxic algae blooms by not requiring enforceable regulatory standards to reduce ag runoff of phosphorus pollution from manure and fertilizers, and proposes rollbacks of Clean Water Act safeguards for safe drinking water and community waters.
Great Lakes protection and restoration has strong bipartisan support. Protecting clean water for fisheries and outdoor recreation and ensuring safe drinking water for all is not a partisan issue in the pivotal Midwest states where the 2020 election may be decided. Great Lakes protection is a core value shared by all.
Since the GLRI was launched in 2010, it has provided vital funding to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world. GLRI projects also protect safe clean drinking water for 42 million people and support a $62 billion economy based on fishing, boating, and recreational activities. That’s great value for all of us who live, work and play in and around the Great Lakes.