President Trump's Proposed Budget Calls for Cuts to Great Lakes Funding

His administration says state local and tribal governments should be responsible for regional water cleanups

For third time since his inauguration Donald Trump has put the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in his budgetary crosshairs.

His proposed budget would slash Environmental Protection Agency funding for Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay restoration programs by 90 percent.

The GLRI is an inter-agency program created to address the most significant problems in the Great Lakes, and works to protect, restore, and maintain the Great Lakes ecosystem.

But, as is the case with so numerous president's initiatives, he is right in insisting that if taxpayers' money is spent, results must be achieved.

Trump made a similar attempt previous year but Congress refused to go along.

Other programs remain nearly fully funded, including those devoted to cleaning up Superfund sites and surface water protection.

President Trump's 2019 budget outline proposes drastic cuts to Great Lakes funding again.

He tells Great Lakes Now, "A national infrastructure plan that runs roughshod over environmental protections and ignores climate change can not be taken seriously-and threatens to throw good money after bad while failing to address urgent water needs for the region and exacerbating pollution". It places the financial burden on local communities, which have taken on the lion's share of funding these expensive projects over the last 40 years and have consequently seen water bills skyrocket for individuals and families.

The program, launched in 2010, pays for cleanup projects in the lakes and in the tributaries leading up to them. "In all, it makes no sense".

Campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition Todd Ambs says, "The Trump plan is pure fantasy and will not help solve the nation's water infrastructure crisis".

In Upstate New York, initiative money has helped clean up tributaries to Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, improve water quality in the Finger Lakes, relocate mussel populations in the St. Regis River and prevent the spread of invasive species in Lake Ontario.

"If there were to be any kind of substantial cuts, I think it would be hard to improve water quality", Dodson said.

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