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U.S. House bill will cut Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding by 80%

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

A bill that will drastically cut federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was approved by a U.S. House of Representative subcommittee today.

The bill will cut funding from the program from an original budget of $285 million down to $60 million dollars for the 2014 fiscal year.Todd Ambs is the campaign director of the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition. He says the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has helped identify toxic hot spots in the lakes from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin.

“Unfortunately today, those unparalleled successes are being jeopardized by some in the House that would have us go back to the days of federal neglect and inaction toward the most important freshwater resource on the planet - our Great Lakes,” says Ambs.

Likewise, the CEO and President of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Joel Brammeier, says it is no secret that the House is focused on budget control but this drastic of a cut does not appear to be in keeping with the goal to restore the Great Lakes.

“The disproportionate targeting of these programs seems completely out of step with smart, efficient governance. And in this case we are talking about money that is going to communities and states to pay for on-the-ground projects that benefit millions of people across the Great Lakes region.”

The bill will also cut federal funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund from $1.03 billion to $250 million for the 2014 fiscal year. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund is used to help communities fix or update old sewer systems.

-Lindsay Hall, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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