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Budget deal spares Great Lakes $50 million cut

Budget deal spares Great Lakes $50 million cut
May 2, 2017 Gary Wilson
Photo courtesy of Louis Andary via Wikimedia

But long term threat remains

The Great Lakes appear to have survived an attempt by the Trump administration to immediately slash 2017 funding for the lakes by $50 million.

Congressional leaders negotiating a federal budget extension until September 30 included in  the final draft agreement the $50 million that President Trump wanted to immediately cut. If approved by the full congress, funding for the Great Lakes will remain at the previously authorized $300 million level.

Congress is expected to vote on the deal later this week.

Photo courtesy of the office of Senator Debbie Stabenow via Wikimedia

Senator Debbie Stabenow, courtesy of the office of Senator Debbie Stabenow

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow said in a press release that retaining the funding was a “bipartisan effort to stop President Trump from cutting $50 million in Great Lakes funding this year.”

Stabenow co-chairs the senate Great Lakes Task Force that focuses on Great Lakes issues in D.C.

Great Lakes advocate Todd Ambs said “this budget keeps federal Great Lakes efforts on track and sends a strong signal that protecting the drinking water for more than 30 million people needs to be a long-term national priority.”

Ambs is the campaign director for the Healing Our Waters Coalition, the lead not-for-profit agency advocating for Great Lakes funding.

The action to restore $50 million to the 2017 budget is a preliminary skirmish that leaves longer term funding at risk. Trump’s pending 2018 budget provides no funding for Great Lakes programs.

Trump wants to eliminate spending for the Great Lakes and other programs to use the money to bolster defense and build the border wall with Mexico.

The 2018 budget also represents Trump’s desire to drastically downsize the EPA returning environmental protection back to the states.

Sen. Stabenow said she will continue working “to make sure President Trump’s plan to completely eliminate Great Lakes funding next year is stopped.”

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