The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is set to receive $300 million as part of the recently completed budget deal to fund the government through the rest of fiscal year 2011, according to Congressional appropriators. (The final appropriation will be slightly lower, based on a .2 percent across-the-board cut that will be applied to all programs.)
This is very good news for the Coalition and the millions of people who depend on the Great Lakes. For the last several months, the future of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been uncertain. The U.S. House-passed continuing resolution set aside $225 million for the GLRI—a steep cut from fiscal year 2010 levels of $475 million. In recent months, as cost-cutting rhetoric has escalated, the Coalition has urged Congress to hold the line against further cuts and to support $300 million for the GLRI.
In this tough budget and political environment, the $300 million appropriation represents a victory for the Great Lakes community. A big “Thank You” to all of the coalition members and partners who helped make this possible.
Now, the coalition will turn its attention to securing a strong fiscal year 2012 budget that contains full funding of $475 million for the GLRI to restore the Lakes, safeguard public health, create jobs and uphold our quality of life.