Over the weekend, USA Today reported that the EPA had been inundated with requests for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding. The paper reports:
The Environmental Protection Agency recently noted on its website that it had received 266 applications seeking a total of $124 million in funding, more than three times the $40 million that the agency had available under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
In the article, Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission, puts forward a compelling case that restoration funding needs to be restored to tackle the suite of threats facing the Lakes:
Eder said the massive request for money underscores a need to fully fund the entire Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million, the amount President Barack Obama requested and Congress approved in his budget for fiscal year 2010.
The article underscores why Congress needs to step up to the plate and fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million in its fiscal year 2012 budget.
Nevertheless, Skelding and Eder agree that unless funding is restored to $475 million in future years, the cost to finish the Great Lakes cleanup and restoration will become greater.
“Our position is we need at least $475 million every year to make the kind of progress that can keep pace with the need,” Skelding said.
The bottom line: Great Lakes restoration programs produce results. Fully funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million is an investment that’s good for our Lakes, our public health, our economy and our way of life.