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Trump's budget would ax Great Lakes clean-up funding

Mar 16, 2017

President Donald Trump wants to eliminate federal support of a program that addresses the Great Lakes' most pressing environmental threats.

Trump's 2018 budget released Thursday would remove all funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has received strong support from members of Congress in both parties since President Barack Obama established it in 2009.

The program has pumped more than $2.2 billion into the eight-state Great Lakes region for projects that have removed toxic wastes from industrial harbors, fought invasive species such as Asian carp, restored wildlife habitat and supported efforts to prevent harmful algal blooms.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, who helped launch the program, says eliminating it would be "outrageous."

“We have so much at stake here [in Michigan]. If we don’t have an ongoing effort to monitor what’s happening, to work on water quality issues and invasive species issues, we are going to move backward dramatically. It's an ongoing effort,” Stabenow said.

The initiative has generally received about $300 million a year. Congress voted last year to authorize it for five more years.

Programs that benefit low-income communities in Michigan would also be eliminated under Trump’s budget, including the Community Development Block Grant to improve urban living conditions and the Low Income Heating Assistance Program.

Trump also wants to get rid of Department of Transportation grants and increase defense spending.