President Trump, end your shortsighted attack on the Great Lakes
by Howard A. Learner and Mary Gade
CHICAGO, Illinois — President Donald Trump won the 2016 election in Ohio and several Great Lakes states, but he and his U.S. EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, are assaulting Great Lakes protection and restoration. They’re seeking to slash funding for the sensible Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $300 million annually to zero. They’re rumored to be considering closing the U.S. EPA’s Region 5 office in Chicago, which includes the Great Lakes National Program Office, and transferring its staff to Kansas. They’re rolling back Clean Water Act standards that protect safe, clean drinking water.
What are they thinking? This tomfoolery is a head-scratcher, criticized by both Republican and Democratic leaders.
EPA Administrator Pruitt says he wants to get “back to basics.” What could be more basic than protecting the Great Lakes?
The Great Lakes are a global gem. They contain the planet’s largest fresh water supply (21 percent), provide drinking water for 40 million people, provide a rich aquatic habitat and ecosystem, support a $7 billion annual fishing industry, and offer lakefront and recreational opportunities for millions of people.