Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Face Possible Massive Budget Cut

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A Great Lakes coalition is upset that a U.S. House subcommittee slashed funding by 80 percent for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

Right now, GLRI funding is at $285 million. For the past four years, it has gotten $1.3 billion from Congress. Yesterday, a House Interior and Environment subcommittee voted to cut it to $60 million dollars.

Alliance for the Great Lakes president Joel Brammeier says they hope to rally the Great Lakes congressional delegation to stop this cut.

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“Today’s bad news that the House is seeking to dramatically cut the GLRI and the clean water state revolving fund that goes to pay for sewage infrastructure is a stark reminder that we need to be vigilant over the funds that communities rely on to protect clean water,” he says.

Ducks Unlimited policy director Gildo Tori says this money has cleaned up a dozen hot spots and has restored wetlands and wildlife areas.

“The unique thing about this program is that it is producing tangible, on-the-ground results all across the Great Lakes basin,” says Tori. “It really is a model federal program.”

Healing Our Waters Coalition campaign director Todd Ambs says the cut took this coalition of five organizations by surprise.

“We were going to discuss how the impacts of climate change are taking an increasing toll on these lakes,” says Ambs. “But that was before this bill was proposed to eviscerate funding for the Great Lakes restoration programs that are producing results for the environment and the economy.”

The full House is expected to act on this in September.

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