WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 21, 2017)—Today the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Appropriations released its funding bill for the Department of the Interior, EPA, and other related agencies. The bill provides:
- $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to clean up toxic pollution, reduce farm and urban runoff, control invasive species, and restore fish and wildlife habitat. The bill maintains funding at the same level as last fiscal year, which is $300 million more than the Trump Administration’s budget request.
- $1.394 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to help communities finance wastewater infrastructure. The bill maintains funding at the same level as last fiscal year, and is the same amount as the Trump Administration’s budget request.
- $864 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to help communities finance drinking water infrastructure. The bill maintains funding at the same level as last fiscal year, and is the same amount as the Trump Administration’s budget request.
Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“On the one hand, the Senate budget bill keeps Great Lakes restoration efforts on track and helps ensure that the federal government can continue to invest in projects that benefit the more than 30 million people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life.
“We thank our Great Lakes Senators for their longstanding support. Sens. Debbie Stabenow, Rob Portman, Amy Klobuchar, Sherrod Brown, Richard Durbin, Tammy Baldwin, Robert Casey, Al Franken, Joe Donnelly, Kirsten Gillibrand, Gary Peters, and Tammy Duckworth fought to reject cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is producing results for the environment and economy.”
“On the other hand, the bill cuts the budget for agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, that administer Great Lakes restoration programs, and includes provisions that erode core environmental protections, like the Clean Water Act—actions that can undermine restoration efforts. That is the wrong tact to take, because serious threats remain and our work is not done if we want to fully restore the lakes and protect our drinking water, public health, jobs, and way of life.”
In March, when the Trump Administration’s preliminary budget was leaked to the press, showing steep cuts to core Great Lakes programs, Great Lakes senators sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging the administration to maintain funding. In October, U.S. senators urged the Trump Administration to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million in its proposed fiscal year 2019 budget, which will likely be released in February 2018.
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 145 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.