The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition last week sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, requesting the agency to restore to funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in the 2013 budget to $475 million.
President Obama and the U.S. Congress funded the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million in the 2010 budget before seeking reductions in the program in the 2011 budget ($300 million requested by Obama Administration) and 2012 budget ($350 million requested by the Obama Administration).
The letter states:
“As you know, the $475 million in funding that President Obama and Congress provided in fiscal year 2010 for the GLRI has energized the region. Project by project, communities are benefiting from successful restoration activities in the form of increased economic benefits and better quality of life.”
The coalition is sending the letter to Administer Jackson now because federal agencies, believe it or not, will soon be crunching numbers and submitting recommendations to the president for fiscal year 2013 funding.
It’s important for the administration to hold the line against cuts to restoration programs that are producing results in communities across the region and restore funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
House Budget Undermines Restoration Efforts
It’s important for the Obama Administration to stand up for restoration programs, considering the uncertainty of clean water programs in the U.S. House of Representatives. Simply: Restoration programs are on thin ice in the 2012 budget. House leaders are trying to ram through cuts to programs that uphold water quality, prevent sewage contamination, protect public health and uphold a way of life for people in the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – and across the region.
As Jeff Skelding, director of the Healing Our Water-Great Lakes Coalition said in an Ohio radio story today: “it’s a misguided attack on fundamental protections for public health, clean water, communities and people.”
The bottom line is that cuts to Great Lakes restoration programs will not save the nation money. Problems like sewage contamination and invasive species are only going to get worse and more costly if federal funding is cut. People expect clean water for drinking, safe beaches for swimming and healthy fish for eating. Americans do not have to sacrifice clean water and clean air to balance the books – and any politician who thinks as much does not belong in office.