One item that has escaped the budget tie-ups in Congress is funding for Great Lakes cleanup.
Congress approved $300 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for fiscal year 2012.
From the Associated Press:
The money was included in a larger spending bill that cleared the House and Senate last week and is awaiting President Barack Obama's signature...
Jeff Skelding of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition says next year's federal budget is a victory for people who depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water and jobs.
The approved funding keeps the ball rolling for the historic levels of federal investment in Great Lakes cleanup through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The Initiative was kicked off in 2010 with $475 million in restoration funds aimed at cleaning up toxic hot spots, curbing runoff pollution, fighting invasive species, and restoring habitat.
2011 saw a decrease in funding from Congress to just under $300 million.
Jeff Skelding, the campaign director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, told Rebecca Williams of the Environment Report earlier this year that debate about funding for Great Lakes cleanup cuts across party lines:
"...one thing about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is because of the nature of the program, federal funding to clean up the Great Lakes, and to help the economy, it's really a bi-partisan issue. We have really received great support from both Republicans and Democrats in the Great Lakes Congressional delegation. So that gives us hope as we stare down the significant cuts that are happening across the federal budget."
The AP reports the Great Lakes region is also "expected to get $533 million in loans for sewer upgrades."
Twelve Days of Aquatic Invasive Species Christmas
And for those who want to mix holiday cheer with aquatic invasive species (who can resist, really?)...