ANN ARBOR, MICH. (July 22, 2013) – A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee today released a bill that drastically cuts funding for Great Lakes programs. The bill slashes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by nearly 80 percent – from the current level of $285 million to a proposed $60 million for fiscal year 2014. The bill also slashes funding to help communities fix old sewers, cutting more than 80 percent of the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund – from the current level of $1.03 billion to a proposed $250 million for fiscal year 2014.
Members of the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee are scheduled to vote on the bill tomorrow, Tuesday, July 23. A summary of the bill can be found at: http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=343384
Commenting on the U.S House funding bill, Todd Ambs, campaign director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“The House bill eviscerates funding for Great Lakes restoration programs that are producing results for the environment and economy. Slashing successful Great Lakes programs will not save the nation one penny. It will only cost taxpayers more, because projects will only become more difficult and expensive the longer we wait. Our message to public officials is clear: Protecting and restoring the Great Lakes needs to be a national priority—more than 30 million people depend on them for drinking water.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re in this situation today. Great Lakes restoration has historically been a bipartisan issue. Earlier this year, nearly 40 members of Congress—Republicans and Democrats—asked the subcommittee to support $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. As long as the House Budget Committee continues to provide unrealistic funding levels, and a balanced budget deal is not reached, we’ll continue to see cuts to successful Great Lakes restoration efforts.
“The Great Lakes congressional delegation must urge their colleagues to reject these cuts and restore funding to essential programs that protect our Lakes, jobs, public health, and way of life.”