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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

A view of sand dunes and Lake Michigan
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

The broad takeaway from President Trump's budget proposal, released earlier today, is this:

Military spending and high-earners win, while social safety net programs and the Great Lakes lose.

Stateside spoke with Dustin Walsh of Crain’s Detroit Business about the proposed budget and how it would affect Michigan. Walsh said, like most budget proposals, this one represents something closer to a “wish list” than an actual policy proposal.

Saugatuck Dunes.
Rapid Growth Media

Michigan's lawmakers are reacting to an unconfirmed report that the EPA is thinking of shutting down its Region 5 office in Chicago. Under the plan, the Chicago office would merge with the Region 7 office in Kansas.

Republican Congressman Fred Upton represents Michigan’s 6th District, located in the southwest corner of the state along the shore of Lake Michigan. He spoke with Stateside about the potential proposal, which he said was “not a wise move.”

Ckay / Creative Commons

President Trump's proposed budget cuts to Great Lakes restoration has some Michigan lawmakers and small business owners concerned.

President Trump's latest budget proposal calls for eliminating funding for protecting the Great Lakes which includes cleaning up polluted areas,  preventing and controlling invasive species, and restoring habitats to protect native species.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget shifts spending from domestic areas to security areas. One of the programs that would be cut under the proposal is the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

That money has been used to do the following: clean up polluted areas called Great Lakes Areas of Concern, prevent and control invasive species, reduce nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful blooms of algae (which led to Toledo's water system shut down), and restore habitat to protect native species.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget was leaked last week. It looked like money to protect the Great Lakes would be cut by 97%. That leaked document was wrong.

Trump’s budget proposal completely eliminated funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

A view of sand dunes and Lake Michigan
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump released his budget plan today.

The Pentagon and Homeland Security win big in the plan while the Great Lakes, Community Development Block Grants, the EPA, heating assistance for the poor and the arts lose big.

Dog plays in Lake Michigan
tmannis / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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

Flickr user 401(K) 2012/Flickr

An additional 650,000 low-income people have been able to get health care through Michigan's Medicaid expansion, with the federal government picking up most of the tab. However, a Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would change how funding for the program is doled out.

NASA / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

President Donald Trump’s budget proposes cutting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $300 million to $10 million.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Bill Schuette was on Dave Akerly's radio show on WILS in Lansing to discuss, among other things, his recent visit with President Trump. When asked about the President’s proposed cuts to Great Lakes protections, Schuette said this:

“Where this really stems from is again, Obamacare and the mayor of Chicago and the Illinois shipping interests really don’t care about the quality of the Great Lakes and the fresh water. And what we don’t want is the Asian carp coming from the Mississippi River up into the Great Lakes.”

Somewhere beneath the waves of Lake Michigan lies the wreck of the 'Andaste'
Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr, http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Supporters of a Great Lakes cleanup program are taking their case to Congress as preliminary budget figures suggest the Trump administration may try to cut nearly all its funding.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition represents nearly 150 groups that favor the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

It has funded toxic waste removal, wetlands restoration and the fight against invasive species such as Asian carp.

NASA / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A coalition of more than 145 environmental, conservation, and outdoor recreation groups is speaking out against the Trump administration's widely reported plans to propose massive funding cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Reports say Trump's proposed budget would slash funding for Great Lakes Restoration programs by 97% from $300 million to $10 million.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Early budget indications suggest the Trump administration could slash funding for the Great Lakes.

There are many possible cuts to EPA programs. Great Lakes restoration money could be cut by 97%, and money for beach monitoring could be also at risk.

USGS

  LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan is turning to the public for help fighting Asian carp.

The state plans to offer a prize to someone who can come up with a way to keep the invasive fish out of the Great Lakes.

Michigan's Legislature and governor allocated $1 million to develop a global invasive carp challenge. Details on how much prize money will be offered are being worked out. Officials also haven't determined how many winners might be chosen.

The challenge will go live this summer in collaboration with crowdsourcing company InnoCentive.

Ray Dumas / Creative Commons

Fifty-nine percent of Michiganders would say they prioritize the environment over the economy, according to a new study from Michigan State University.

“The results are somewhat counterintuitive,” Daniel Bergan said, given President Donald Trump's November win in Michigan. Bergen was a researcher on the study.

Wikipedia

The US Environmental Protection Agency has pledged almost $20 million dollars to help clean up the Clinton River in southeast Michigan.

The river, which flows largely through Macomb County into Lake Saint Clair, has been designated a Great Lakes Area of Concern for many years.

EPA officials announced Monday that more federal money is coming through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

USGS GLSC Dive Team, Michigan Sea Grant

There are 12 toxic hot spots in Michigan called Areas of Concern.

These are places in the Great Lakes basin where pollution and development have damaged the ecosystems.

The Detroit River is on this list. Before the Clean Water Act, industries on the river treated it as a dumping ground – think waste in the billions of gallons.

The Great Lakes from space.
NASA

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - President Barack Obama's proposed budget for 2016 seeks a $50 million cut in a multi-year program to clean up the Great Lakes.

The president's spending plan released Monday requests $250 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, down from $300 million appropriated for this year.

Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes subject to clean-up by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
User airbutchie / flickr.com

A proposal to continue a wide-ranging Great Lakes cleanup program has been resurrected in Congress after falling short last month.

Rep. David Joyce, R-OH, introduced the bill Thursday. It would extend the soon-to-expire Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for another five years and authorize spending $300 million annually.

EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today two toxic hot spots in Michigan have been cleaned up.

Work is now complete at White Lake in Muskegon County and Deer Lake in the Upper Peninsula.

The sites are on a list of about 40 toxic hot spots surrounding the Great Lakes; 14 sites are in Michigan.

ckay / Creative Commons

A popular program to improve the environment around the Great Lakes could be extended. A task force including 11 federal agencies and led by the Environmental Protection Agency released a draft of the updated plan Friday for public review.

Congress has already approved $1.6 billion on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. An updated blueprint calls for another $275 million annually over the next five years. 

A big chunk of that money helped jump start efforts to clean up industrial pollution that happened decades ago. There are 14 of these so-called "toxic hot spots" in Michigan on a list of Areas of Concern. Cleanup efforts have been underway since the 1980s.

“They’ve been on the list for far too long. We need to give these harbor side and riverside communities some relief and get them cleaned up,” Cameron Davis said. He’s a senior advisor to the administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockely discuss the trial challenging Michigan's same-sex marriage ban, the mayor of Flint's proposal to fight blight in the city, and what President Obama's budget proposal could mean for Michigan.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - A government report says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should do more to make sure a Great Lakes cleanup program is meeting its goals.

Congress has spent about $1.3 billion on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative over the past four years. It has funded 1,700 grants for on-the-ground projects and scientific research. It focuses on persistent environmental threats such as invasive species, loss of wildlife habitat, toxic pollution and runaway algae growth.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

A bill that will drastically cut federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was approved by a U.S. House of Representative subcommittee today.

The bill will cut funding from the program from an original budget of $285 million down to $60 million dollars for the 2014 fiscal year.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative projects since 2010.
GLRI / Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is offering up $9.5 million for projects on the Great Lakes.

States, universities, non-profits and other groups are eligible to apply for grants from the EPA, as part of their Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Detroit Public Schools get new emergency manager

Governor Rick Snyder has named Jack Martin as the new emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools. Martin replaces Roy Roberts, who is retiring after two years in the position. Martin is leaving his position as Detroit’s chief financial officer.  Roberts says DPS still has a long way to go, but conditions are noticeably better than when he started; the current budget deficit is more than $70 million.

Retiree health care coverage suspended in Pontiac

Pontiac’s emergency manager Louis Schimmel has proposed the Emergency Loan Board address an expected $6 million general fund shortfall in the current budget year. The board approved a plan to suspend health care coverage for retirees from the city of Pontiac and increase their monthly pension payments. The city's roughly 1,000 pensioners will get an extra $400 a month to buy their own health care, the Associated Press reports.

EPA now accepting Great Lakes grant applications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has $9.5 million to distribute for Great Lakes projects and is looking for takers. The money comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an Obama administration program to clean up and protect the lakes from a variety of threats. A webinar explaining the application process will be held July 30.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The future of the Great Lakes, their management, and their usage were among key topics in a forum held recently at MSU's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

The forum focused on the key question of how we should manage these huge bodies of fresh water in order to guarantee their availability for future generations.

This is happening while the Obama Administration is asking for $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Jennifer Read is Deputy Director of the University of Michigan Water Center and Jon Allen is Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes.

Both were in attendance at the forum, and they give us an overview of  what was discussed.

You can listen to the full interview above.

Sleeping Bear Dunes
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

President Obama is asking for $300 million for the Great Lakes in his 2014 budget. That money would go to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

It’s a huge project to clean up pollution, fight invasive species and restore habitat.

Chad Lord is the policy director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. He says there’s been a lot of progress over the last four years.

“All of these results are coming from the investments in new wetlands, buffer strips along rivers, cleaning up toxic sediments in areas around Detroit,” he says.

NWF

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but folks in Washington aren’t exactly getting along these days.

They couldn’t agree on how to cut the deficit, and now we’re facing automatic, across-the-board spending cuts from the federal government.

The cuts are scheduled to start March 1.

$85 billion will have to be stripped out of the federal budget this year alone.

The White House sent a press release detailing how these cuts might affect environmental programs in Michigan.

Here's what they wrote:

Michigan would lose about $5.9 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Michigan could lose another $1.5 million in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

We heard a lot about about how the sequester might affect things like airports, school funding, and Medicare, but we wanted to know more about the numbers above.

How might environmental programs in the region be affected?

University of Michigan

The Great Lakes are under a lot of stress. 

34 different kinds of stress, to be exact.

That’s according to a research team that has produced a comprehensive map showing many of the things that stress the Great Lakes.  Think: pollution, invasive species, development and climate change... just to name a few. 

Flickr user/I'm Such a Child

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will award $20 million in grants this year for projects to help the Great Lakes.

EPA officials recently invited states, cities, Indian tribes, universities and nonprofit groups to apply for the grants, which will come from money Congress appropriated under the Obama administration's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The projects will focus on issues such as invasive species, toxic pollution and runoff from farms and cities.

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