“President Obama’s budget keeps Great Lakes restoration on track,” said Chad Lord, policy director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “The budget acknowledges that restoration projects are producing results, but there is more work to do.”
Lord said he looked forward to working with the Obama administration and Congress to ensure investment continued in the economic and ecological health of the Great Lakes.
The coalition urges Congress to maintain support for Great Lakes programs that aim to protect drinking water, safeguard public health, create jobs and uphold the quality of life for millions of people in the region.
A request of $300 million in the president's new budget matches the same amount appropriated in the federal fiscal year 2012. During the past four years, Obama and Congress have invested more than $1.36 billion through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Daniel O’Keefe of the Michigan Sea Grant program said the federal dollars are important to the health of the Great Lakes.
“In general terms, it has been a big source of funding,” he said. “It’s not something that is guaranteed forever.”
Uses of the federal funds include clean up of toxic pollution, restoring fish and wildlife habitats, fighting invasive species like Asian carp, and preventing farm and urban runoff to protect human health and keep beaches open.
“It has done a lot of things on different levels throughout the Great Lakes,” O'Keefe said.
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