Monday, April 3, 2017

Northeast Ohio Representatives Pushing Back Against Trump's Proposed Great Lakes Funding Cuts

Posted By on Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 11:29 AM

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President Donald Trump has recommended that Congress slash the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative fund by 97 percent, decimating an array of watershed protection grants, agricultural runoff regulations and algal bloom studies, as just a few examples. While this is merely a budget proposal, we've seen plenty of instances already in which the GOP-led Congress positively swoons over the president's dubious suggestions.

Here in Northeast Ohio, though, we're intimately connected to the Great Lakes. We enjoy having access to potable drinking water, to say nothing of the fine recreation and tourism revenue that our lake affords us. With that in mind, congressional leaders met with other stakeholders (lake-bound business owners, museum reps, sewer district officials) to discuss the importance of pushing back on this budget proposal. It's a conversation taking place here and — with a sense of hope and alacrity — in Washington.

As the Morning Journal points out, U.S. Reps David Joyce (R-Ohio), Sander Levin (D-Michigan) and Louise Slaughter (D-New York) are calling for the full $300-million funding level for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Along with other Republicans and Democrats, they penned a letter to the chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

"Halting this [funding] commitment would reverse years of progress, dramatically reduce the GLRI's impact, and jeopardize the environmental and economic health of the region," the legislators wrote. In Trumpspeak, though, it's almost as if they're arguing for the cuts.

The budget — and any amendments to Trump's recommendations along the way — will be hotly debated (one hopes) this month. Stay tuned.

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