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February 15th 2018

What Trump’s Budget Means for Great Lakes Restoration

By Todd Ambs, campaign director, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition


Restoration work makes progress on Detroit, Mich.’s Belle Isle. Photo courtesy of Friends of the Detroit River.

On Monday, the Trump Administration released its proposed budget for 2019, which runs from October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019. As was the case last year, the president’s proposed budget is a complete disaster for the Great Lakes and a non-starter for the millions of people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York who rely on the lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life.


The Trump Administration also released its infrastructure platform this week. You can read our initial thoughts here. We’ll have more to say on that in a few days.


In the meantime, here are some observations on the proposed Trump Administration budget.

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February 12th 2018

Trump Budget Cuts to Great Lakes Programs a ‘Non-Starter’

Administration ‘misses major opportunity’ with infrastructure plan


People use the Great Lakes for swimming, boating, and wildlife watching. This way of life is dependent on Great Lakes restoration and clean up. Credit: iStock photo.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 12, 2018)—The Trump Administration today released its proposed budget, which drastically cuts core Great Lakes programs as well as funding for the federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, charged with implementing them.


Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:


The Trump Administration budget is a non-starter. The 30 million people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, health, jobs, and way of life deserve solutions to curb toxic algal outbreaks, halt invasive species like Asian carp, restore lost habitat, and clean up toxic contamination. It will once again be up to Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress to support Great Lakes restoration efforts that are producing results for our environment and economy in communities across the region. We look forward to working with Great Lakes leaders in the U.S. House and Senate to restore funding to these important programs to ensure that Great Lakes restoration remains a top national priority.”

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January 30th 2018

Trump State of the Union, Great Lakes Restoration

Tonight, President Trump gives his first State of the Union address. Staff at the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition will analyze the address through the lens of federal Great Lakes restoration efforts. The Trump Administration has not been a great supporter of federal restoration efforts, recommending last year to eliminate core programs. That said, we’ll be listening to the address for any more details on the Trump Administration’s proposed infrastructure strategy. Here in the region—and across the country—communities are grappling with antiquated, inadequate water infrastructure. They are also grappling with how to afford these needed water services.


A top priority for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is robust federal investment to help the eight Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York meet their clean water needs—because the need is great.


The region needs approximately $179 billion in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years to make the system whole again. We’re not going to get there at current rates of federal investment. We also aren’t going to meet our clean water and Great Lakes restoration goals by rolling back core environmental protections. Leaked documents hint at the large-scale repeal of environmental protections in a Trump infrastructure package, as well as financing that relies on state, rather than federal, investment. We’ll weigh in once we see a final proposed infrastructure package.

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January 16th 2018

Washington Update: Fiscal Year 2018 Deliberations

The potential for a government shut down draws closer as the current continuing resolution for fiscal year 2018 runs out on Friday. At issue are several points of contention: how to resolve the fate of 700,000 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients and increasing defense budget levels. Various splits within the Republican party and between the Republicans and Democrats are making compromise difficult.

The budget process overall is in a state of disarray. In theory, the federal budget for this year would’ve been decided on in October of 2017. As debate continues around passing another continuing resolution or passing an omnibus spending bill for FY18, we draw closer and closer to the regularly scheduled start of next fiscal year’s appropriation’s discussions.

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December 7th 2017

Washington Update: Continuing Resolutions and Year End Negotiations

The federal government could shut down after Friday if the House and Senate don’t act to pass a continuing resolution that funds the government beyond December 8. The current continuing resolution is set to run out Friday and Republicans are interested in passing another continuing resolution that would fund the government through December 22. Several contentious issues remain: changing budget caps to increase defense funding, supporting Children’s Health Insurance Program, and addressing the fate of people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Each of these could derail a compromise on a new continuing resolution, since 218 votes from the House and 60 from the Senate are needed for passage. A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed that most voters are interested in avoiding a shut down of the government, although there are some partisan differences when it comes to what issues should be compromised on in order to avoid a shut down.

Funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund are currently set at FY17 levels. If Congress is able to avoid a shut down this week, a final decision on the full FY18 budget could come before December 22. With so many details to work out, including baseline budget numbers for defense and non-defense discretionary spending, a final budget for FY18 may not come until after the new year.

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  • Impact of President Trump’s Budget

    Cuts to key Great Lakes programs as proposed by President Trump will undermine the progress we've been making to restore the lakes. We will look to our congressional champions to restore funding. Learn more about what's at stake for the Great Lakes under the proposed budget. Click here.  

  • 2018 Great Lakes Restoration Conference

    Our 2018 Great Lakes Restoration Conference will be in Detroit, Mich, October 17 and 18. We will begin seeking proposals for conference presentations in April. As more information becomes available, it will be posted here and shared on our listserv.

  • Washington Update: March 19, 2018

    Congress is still working on passing a budget for fiscal year 2018. But the budget process for fiscal year 2019 has now begun with the release of President Trump's proposed budget. Read the latest here.

  • Our Latest Success Story

    Check out our latest success story: Restoring the natural curves and riverbank of the Pike River in Wisconsin has reduced flooding and erosion, while increasing fish and wildlife habitat. Read more here. Click here for a full list of our success stories.