Administration ‘misses major opportunity’ with infrastructure plan
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.”
The Trump Administration also released its national infrastructure platform, which foists much of the financial costs onto local and state government, while also rolling back landmark environmental protections. Over the past 40 years, the federal government’s share of national water infrastructure investments has fallen from 63 percent to 9 percent. From 2010-2017, water rates for people rose 41 percent.
Commenting on the Trump Administration’s infrastructure platform, Ambs said:
“The Trump Administration missed a major opportunity to help communities restore their water infrastructure. It places the financial burden on local communities, which have taken on the lion’s share of funding these expensive projects over the last 40 years and have consequently seen water bills skyrocket for individuals and families. And, the Trump plan guts clean water protections that every American depends on for clean, safe drinking water. In all, it makes no sense.
“The bottom line is the Trump plan is pure fantasy and will not help solve the nation’s water infrastructure crisis. The Great Lakes region alone needs more than $179 billion in upgrades, repairs, and improvements over the next 20 years to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure to meet our clean water goals. That will only happen with a plan that significantly increases federal investments that provide financial relief to local communities; prioritizes nature-based solutions that save money by preventing problems before they become more serious; makes water affordable for everyone; and upholds environmental, health and safety standards that work to ensure clean water for all of the people who call this nation home. We look forward to working with Congress to put in place a bi-partisan infrastructure package that works for people, communities, businesses, and the Great Lakes.”
A sample of Great Lakes programs in Trump Administration Budget:
- $30 million for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which helps local communities clean up toxic pollution, curb polluted runoff, fight invasive species, and restore fish and wildlife habitat—a cut of 90 percent from fiscal year 2017 budget levels.
- $2.65 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which provide low-interest loans to communities to fix and build wastewater and drinking water infrastructure—an increase of $397 million from fiscal year 2017 budget levels.
- $5.4 billion for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which helps administer Great Lakes restoration and clean water protection programs—a reduction of 34 percent from the 2017 budget levels.
- $0 (zero) for Clean Water Act Section 319 programs, which helps communities reduce polluted runoff that leads to toxic algal outbreaks—a reduction of $167 million from the fiscal year 2017 budget levels.
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 150 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. For more information visit http://www.healthylakes.org Follow us on twitter @healthylakes.