Environmentalists Ask Congress To Restore Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funding

Obama Administration's Budget Proposal Cuts $50M In Funding For Program

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest (CC-BY)

Environmental groups say they’ve started to ask members of Congress to overturn a proposed federal budget cut for a Great Lakes cleanup program.

The Obama administration wants to cut the annual spending for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $300 million to $250 million. Nearly $2 billion has been spent on the program over the last six years, but Todd Ambs of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition said there’s lot more work to do.

“One analogy I might draw is if you’re in the process of doing important infrastructural work and building a bridge, if you’re halfway done with the bridge, you don’t slow down that work. You want to continue that work to see it to completion,” said Ambs.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is suggesting it wants to focus the Restoration Initiative on cleaning up more areas of contaminated sediment in harbors, reducing problems with algae, and battling invasive species. But Ambs said the agency also needs to keep doing more to protect wildlife habitat along the Lakes.