WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama released his proposed 2015 budget today, which contains cuts to core Great Lakes programs.
The Obama Administration is recommending $275 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – a cut of $25 million from current funding levels of $300 million and a reduction of $200 million from the initial funding proposed by President Obama in 2009. That year, the Obama Administration launched the program with bipartisan congressional leadership to jumpstart what had been a lagging federal effort to restore the Lakes—the source of drinking water for more than 30 million people. The initiative has been widely credited with helping address urgent threats to the Lakes, including toxic pollution, aquatic invasive species, runoff from farms and cities, and habitat destruction.
President Obama’s budget proposes $1.018 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund – a cut of approximately $430 million from current funding levels. The Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York would lose over $150 million. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund helps communities fix wastewater infrastructure to prevent sewage overflows into the Great Lakes and the rivers and streams which lead into them.
Responding to the release of President Obama’s budget, Todd Ambs, campaign director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“President Obama’s cuts to Great Lakes programs are very disappointing. This is not the time to cut Great Lakes programs that are producing solid economic and environmental benefits for people and communities across the region.
“A lot of work remains to restore the Great Lakes to health. Cutting funding now will only cost us more later, because projects will get harder and more expensive the longer we wait.
“We will be asking our congressional champions to restore funding to Great Lakes programs that are the foundation of our health, economy, and quality of life.”
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of 120 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Learn more at www.healthylakes.org or follow us on Twitter @healthylakes