Trump's budget plan would significantly cut funding for Great Lakes restoration

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Several lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Twp., said protecting the Great Lakes isn't and shouldn't be a partisan issue.

President Donald Trump again is trying reduce or eliminate federal funding for cleanups of some iconic US waterways.

President Donald Trump's budget includes no money for so-called Clean Water Act Section 319 programs, which help communities reduce polluted runoff.

The administration sought to zero out spending on the regional water initiatives in its first budget a year ago, describing them as "primarily local efforts" and contending state and local governments were capable of paying for them.

"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.

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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".

"Cutting Great Lakes investments by 90 percent-essentially eliminating the program-threatens the health of our lakes and jeopardizes Michigan's economy", Kildee said. The Republican-led U.S. House Appropriations Committee past year squelched Trump's attempted cuts for 2018 and fully funded the initiative, which enjoys wide bipartisan support and which funds water quality oversight, agricultural runoff mitigation, wildlife habitat preservation and more.

"The Trump Administration missed a major opportunity to help communities restore their water infrastructure". The other programs receive significantly less federal funding. "In all, it makes no sense". The $300 million used to clean up the Great Lakes every year since 2010 would be slashed to $30 million.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative aims to protect the lakes from pollution and invasive species.

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".

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