In a powerful editorial today, Ohio’s Akron Beacon Journal urges the state’s Congressional delegation to not cut funding for Great Lakes programs and to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million in the federal 2012 budget.
The paper’s editorial board writes:
“One item that belongs at the top of their list is the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The initiative has attracted strong bipartisan support in the past. Now the push must continue, the Ohio delegation, Republicans and Democrats, taking the lead in pressing for sufficient resources.”
The paper nails the argument that Great Lakes restoration is an investment that can produce tremendous returns on investment; that delaying action will only lead to higher costs later; and that Ohio’s multi-billion-dollar tourism industry has a huge stake in the health of Lake Erie.
The Akron Beacon Journal reminds public officials and citizens that Great Lakes restoration is an issue defined by urgency—not political affiliation. The results that we’re seeing from the federal government’s investment in Great Lakes restoration is due to the hard work of Republican and Democratic leaders. The paper writes:
“For years, George Voinovich and Mike DeWine worked diligently to advance the lakes. Sherrod Brown has picked up the cause. He needs a steady and determined Senate partner. As it is, Rob Portman says all the right things. Yet, in his pursuit of fiscal discipline, he suggests the view that the country cannot afford such discretionary spending.”
“If anything, the Great Lakes, wounded by invasive species and otherwise ailing, make a powerful case for a federal investment. Betty Sutton, Steve LaTourette and Tim Ryan have been firm allies on this matter in the House. Now the entire Ohio delegation must join in pushing for the full $475 million to take the next step in restoring the lakes.”
In early July, House appropriators will be marking up the spending bill that contains the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Now is the time for members of Congress from Ohio and the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to stand up for the Lakes.