Tonight, President Trump gives his first State of the Union address. Staff at the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition will analyze the address through the lens of federal Great Lakes restoration efforts. The Trump Administration has not been a great supporter of federal restoration efforts, recommending last year to eliminate core programs. That said, we’ll be listening to the address for any more details on the Trump Administration’s proposed infrastructure strategy. Here in the region—and across the country—communities are grappling with antiquated, inadequate water infrastructure. They are also grappling with how to afford these needed water services.
A top priority for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is robust federal investment to help the eight Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York meet their clean water needs—because the need is great.
The region needs approximately $179 billion in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years to make the system whole again. We’re not going to get there at current rates of federal investment. We also aren’t going to meet our clean water and Great Lakes restoration goals by rolling back core environmental protections. Leaked documents hint at the large-scale repeal of environmental protections in a Trump infrastructure package, as well as financing that relies on state, rather than federal, investment. We’ll weigh in once we see a final proposed infrastructure package.