The Trump Administration has proposed massive cuts to Great Lakes restoration projects in its 2018 fiscal year budget plan, and Congress should say no.
That's what Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, a coalition of over 145 Great Lakes environmental, conservation, and outdoor recreation organizations, is urging in letters sent yesterday to the leadership of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriation Committees.
"The cuts proposed by this Administration would basically bring a halt to Great Lakes restoration work," said Todd Ambs, campaign director of the Coalition.
Ambs said the Administration's budget plan would eliminate funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Coalition wants Congress to provide at least $300 million.
The Coalition also wants Congress to reject the proposed cuts to federal agencies like the EPA (31%) and USDA (21%), which are essential to implementing Great Lakes protection efforts.
"If you're concerned about the problems with drinking water in places like Toledo and Flint, if you're worried about the health of the Great Lakes waters, this budget, if adopted, would put all that in jeopardy," said Ambs.
Ambs said funding is needed to address problems like Asian carp and other invasive species, aging sewers, toxic hot spots, and harmful bacterial blooms.
Ambs said restoring federal funding for these efforts is essential to protect the drinking water of 30 million Americans, to protect the environmental health of the Great Lakes region, and to support its economic development.
There is strong bi-partisan support in Congress for Great Lakes restoration work and strong support from mayors, businesses, tribes, and chambers of commerce, according to Ambs.
"In fact, it appears that the only person who is opposed to Great Lakes restoration funding is in the White House," said Ambs.