Leader of EPA, White House Council on Environmental Quality to Discuss Obama Administration Commitment to Great Lakes
ANN ARBOR, MICH. (February 24, 2009)—As President Obama prepares to release his budget priorities for 2009 and commitment to Great Lakes programs, more than 120 lake advocates are gathering in Washington, D.C., to ask Congress and the Obama Administration to act to restore the lakes and revitalize the economy.
“Restoring the Great Lakes is vital to our nation’s economic recovery, which is why we’re asking Congress and the Obama Administration to invest in successful programs to protect our communities and businesses from the threats of sewage contamination, invasive species and toxic pollution,” said Jeff Skelding, national campaign director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Unless America invests in the lakes these problems will get worse and the price we all pay will be higher.”
Nancy Sutley, leader of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, will present the luncheon keynote address at the coalition gathering, following a morning address by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at the Great Lakes Commission meeting. Both speakers are expected to discuss the commitment of the Obama Administration to the lakes.
During the campaign, President Obama pledged $5 billion to restore the lakes and revitalize the economy. The creation of such a fund is a top priority for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.
“As a senator and as a White House candidate, President Obama stood up for the Great Lakes,” said Skelding. “We look forward to working with the Obama Administration and Congress to fulfill the president’s commitment to create a $5 billion Great Lakes restoration and economic recovery fund.”
The coalition will urge Congress to increase funding for successful programs, including:
• $54 million for the Great Lakes Legacy Act to clean up toxic sediments that threaten the public’s health and prevent economic development in our region’s cities;
• $16 million for grants through Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration program to address habitat priorities in the Great Lakes basin; and
• $1.35 billion nationally ($490 million to Great Lake states), for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, to fix old sewers to prevent sewage contamination.
The plan for Great Lakes restoration and economi