House Interior Bill Funds Great Lakes Restoration, Cuts EPA

The U.S House Appropriations Committee yesterday released the fiscal year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which is being considered in subcommittee today. The bill sets funding levels for many core Great Lakes restoration programs.

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

“On the one hand, the budget properly rejects many of the cuts contained in the administration’s disastrous budget. Importantly, it restores funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to ensure that the federal government can continue to invest in projects that benefit the more than 30 million people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Great Lakes Congressional delegation for fighting to restore funding so that we can continue to implement projects that are good for our environment and economy.

“On the other hand, the budget sends mixed signals, as it continues to cut core programs as well as agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency charged with implementing Great Lakes restoration. That is the wrong tact to take, because serious threats remain and our work is not done if we want to fully restore the lakes and protect our drinking water, public health, jobs, and way of life.”

U.S. Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), and Betty McCullum (D-Minn.), who serve on the appropriations subcommittee, were instrumental in restoring funding. The push to restore funding follows a push by more than 60 members of the Great Lakes Congressional delegation to beat back proposed cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The House interior bill proposes the following funding levels:

  • $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (page 78). The GLRI is funded at the same amount in the current fiscal year.
  • $863 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (see page 67). The program is funded at same amount in the current fiscal year.
  • $1.144 billion for Clean Water State Revolving Fund (see page 67). The program is funded at $1.39 billion in the current fiscal year.

The bill funds the Environmental Protection Agency at $7.5 billion, a reduction of $528 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The bill also cuts funding to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service, and Geological Survey.

The budget bill can be found here.

Read the House press release here.

 

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