President Trump Again Seeks To Slash Great Lakes Funding

Feb 13, 2018

President Trump pushed again Monday to slash funding for the Great Lakes -- repeating a move he made unsuccessfully last year.

Trump released a budget proposal that would slash funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $300 million annually to $30 million.

Some officials, including members of Trump's Republican Party, vowed to boost funding for the Great Lakes.

Rep. Bill Huizenga, a Michigan Republican, said he would work on a bipartisan effort to fully fund the restoration initiative. It "plays a leading role in preserving and restoring the Great Lakes ecology while strengthening the Great Lakes economy,” Huizenga, co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, told the Detroit News.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, said, “I’ve successfully helped lead the effort to restore full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative after both Republican and Democratic administrations have proposed cuts to the program, and I will do so again this year.”

Todd Ambs, campaign director for a regional coalition of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, called the proposal budget is a non-starter.

"The 30 million people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, health, jobs, and way of life deserve solutions to curb toxic algal outbreaks, halt invasive species like Asian carp, restore lost habitat, and clean up toxic contamination," he said in a prepared statement. "It will once again be up to Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress to support Great Lakes restoration efforts that are producing results for our environment and economy in communities across the region.”

Earlier this month, The Alliance for Great Lakes released its annual list of federal priorities for the Great Lakes region. Molly Flanagan vice president for policy at the alliance, said the number one priority on their list was funding.

"GLRI funds help to clean up toxic hot spots around the region," Flanagan said. "They prevent the introduction of new aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes, and curtail the spread of those species around the Great Lakes."

Other priorities on their list include invasive species and improving waste water and drinking water infrastructure.