Great Lakes program cuts proposed

President Barack Obama's 2015 budget requests the least spending yet on a Great Lakes cleanup program his administration has championed, but an official said Tuesday the cutback does not signal eroding support for the cause.
AP Wire
Mar 9, 2014

 

Obama established the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative the first year of his presidency, based on a priority list compiled by government officials, scientists and advocates who warned the inland seas' food webs and other ecological systems were in danger of unraveling from long-festering environmental ills. The lakes hold about one-fifth of the world's surface fresh water and meet the needs of more than 30 million people.

After putting $475 million for the program in his 2010 budget, Obama has sought roughly $300 million in each subsequent year — and Congress has gone along, reflecting strong bipartisan support among lawmakers in the eight-state region who often agree on little else.

But his spending blueprint for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 proposes just $275 million, which U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy said is indicative of a broad push for spending restraint. Her department, which oversees the Great Lakes program, would absorb an overall $310 million cut under the president's plan.

"The administration is very supportive of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative," McCarthy said in a phone conference, adding that the proposed cut "represents no lack of commitment ... and it represents a significant continued investment."

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which represents 120 organizations in the eight-state region, said it was disappointed.

"A lot of work remains to restore the Great Lakes to health," said Todd Ambs, the coalition's director. "Cutting funding now will only cost us more later, because projects will get harder and more expensive the longer we wait."

The program targets invasive species, toxic hot spots such as polluted harbors and river mouths, agricultural and urban runoff blamed for widespread algae blooms and loss of wetlands and other wildlife habitat. It supports the effort to prevent Asian carp, which have invaded the Mississippi River and its tributaries, from reaching the lakes.

More than 2,000 grants have been awarded under the program to nonprofit groups, local, state and tribal governments and researchers.

The budget was released as advocates from the region made their annual visit to Washington, D.C., to lobby for programs that benefit the lakes. They will ask Congress to keep the restoration program at its current level, Ambs said. A spokeswoman for Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said he would push for $300 million.

The coalition also objected to a proposed cut in a federal fund that helps communities upgrade wastewater treatment systems — a top priority in the Great Lakes region, where antiquated sewers often overflow during heavy rainstorms. The Great Lakes states — Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Wisconsin — will lose a combined $150 million if the cutback is approved, Ambs said.

Comments

Lanivan

Perhaps the DeVos Foundation, the Koch Bros, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy donors will step up like they did to fund the votes for the Right-to-Work Law in 2012, and invest millions to this worthiest of causes - keeping the Great Lakes, the largest body of fresh water in the world, healthy and productive.

Vladtheimp

Hmmm - was it donors to the Koch Bros, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy who cut $25 Million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative? I thought the article said it was, wait, let me get the exact quote "President Barack Obama's 2015 budget requests the least spending yet on a Great Lakes cleanup program. . . ."

Yup, a liberal reads an article stating that Barack Hussein Obama cut taxpayer funding of one of her favorite programs, and decides that two taxpayers should cough up more money to make up for the shortfall. Liberal Logic strikes again. If I were to apply the same illogic, I would suggest that union dues payers who subsidized their unions spending untold millions to fight Freedom of Choice in the Michigan workplace, including $8 million on the failed Proposition 2 alone, should make up the difference.

But since both suggestions are simply silly, I seriously suggest the Barack Hussein Obama take at least $25 million from his $100 or so million funding of Planned Parenthood to kill babies - maybe even more should be removed to replace the funding for Abstinence programs that he decided not to fund at all this year. Perhaps he could find $25 or so million from the over $400 million he is giving to the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); or he could reduce slightly the $7 BILLION he is proposing to give to Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa (I think the 1.5 BILLION he gave to the Muslim Brotherhood before they were kicked out of Egypt as terrorists is probably gone by now.)

Although I know the Koch Brothers are living rent free in your mind, from time to time it might be healthy to recognize the our caretaker President actually does things you don't like, in addition to the virtually unlimited number of things that I don't like, but I don't blame George Soros or the Center for American Progress.

Lanivan

I seem to have hit a nerve with my innocuous suggestion. Allow me to address this issue first. I have on other occasions - and I remember them clearly - praised both the Koch Bros and the DeVos family for their extraordinary contributions to the arts, various charities, and other civic priorities. It would be silly, now, wouldn't it, to not give credit where credit is due!

But as conservatives, whom one would assume are committed to conserving our country's heritage and God-given treasures, I would think they would find the preservation of the Great Lakes a worthy and excellent project in keeping with their legacies.

After all, when Mr DeVos spent $35 million on his failed run for Governor, and the Koch Bros spent $122 million (that was reported) on the failed Romney 2012 election, one would think that a request for $25 million for something far greater than any of us - the Great Lakes - would be considered an honor to accept.

Now for a few of your other points, not one to let that sort of thing slide:

1. Union dues/taxpayer thing: Unions are made up of people who work and pay taxes, and studies have shown that more than likely those workers pay taxes at a higher tax rate than either Koch Industries or Amway.

2. Right-to-Work is not Freedom of Choice. It is the Freedom for Corporations to pay ALL workers, union and non-union, on average, $6,000 LESS than workers in non-RTW states.

3. No federal monies are spent on abortions at Planned Parenthood. However, federal monies do pay for free contraception, cancer and STD screenings, tests, and treatments, and other educational opportunities for poor women that help them with family planning, and to keep healthy so they can work and raise their families. This includes prenatal and after-birth support and training for new mothers. I know you aren't a mother, but if you were, you would understand how important these things are for poor or disadvantaged women's health and their success as both a mother and an employee.

4. Study after study after study has shown that abstinence programs do not work, and are a total waste of money. As much as we all wish our youth remain abstinent until they are in their late 20's, married, and well established before having sex, this is entirely unrealistic in a society that glorifies sex in every area of life, and that begins the sexualization of our children at very young ages. Ever go into a Victoria Secret shop and see the special area for pre-teens?

5. You overlooked mention of our significant aid to Israel. Since 1985, the US has given an anverage of $3 Billion annually in military and sconomic aid. Since 1992, the US government has provided Israel with over $9 Billion in various loan guarantees. And the US government has provided hundreds of millions of dollars for various special military projects over the years, as well.

6. And finally, I have, from time to time, as occasion warrants, written about things Obama does that I don't like. For example, I thought he should have played hard ball much quicker with the obstructionist and dysfunctional House, but instead attempted to compromise to no avail for far too long.

7. You don't blame George Soros? Hahahaha.......

8. Are you getting even for my mentioning you in an unfavorable light in the women's bathroom stall expansion article?

Vladtheimp

#8. Don't remember that one - did it have anything to do with the concern that my name would be favorably inscribed on those hallowed stalls? :->

#1, 2, The Koch brothers employ a well paid work force of 60,000 in the United States, around one-third of whom are unionized. Koch Industries works well with the unions representing their employees:

"Koch’s Georgia Pacific unit “has positive collective bargaining relationships with its unions,” Jon Geenen, international vice president of the United Steelworkers union, wrote in a blog post on the group’s website." http://www.bloomberg.com/news/20... On the other hand, unions only employ people who work for the union (NOTE - when I worked for the United Mine Workers, the administrative and clerical staff had to sue the Mine Workers to get decent pay and benefits). Of course, the public sector unions work for us, whom they routinely disparage as though we are the Simon Legree's of the 21st century.

Of course, we don't work for the Koch Brothers, who can't make decisions contrary to the nation's interest. Barack Obama does work for us, and can and does make decisions contrary to the nation's interest. n'est-ce pas?

#3. Every dollar that the taxpayer donates to Planned Parenthood frees them to spend other dollars on abortions - this is not Rocket Science. The results:

NYC: 80% of Abortions Were Minority Babies (Margaret Sanger nods in approval.) Think about that!

#4. "A study of middle-school students that found for the first time that abstinence-only education helped to delay their sexual initiation is already beginning to shake up the longstanding debate over how best to prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases." http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/0... (Which doesn't address why Obama funded it for 5 years).

#5. Complaining about our support for our only real ally in the Middle East, that is most likely to save the world from Iran's nuclear weapons program than any other country (shame on Barack Obama) and ignoring our aid for terrorists? I guess that's ingrained in the liberal mindset.

#6. http://youtu.be/ao5KHEtdhVk

#7. Yeah, I blame George Soros for many things, going back to his Nazi collaboration in his youth, but I don't blame him for decisions our employees make.

Lanivan

Quickly:

#1-2. You worked for the United Mine Workers? How come I didn't know this? Re: the rest of your twisted logic - Desole vous avez tort.

#3. Margaret Sanger did not approve of abortions. Abortions at Planned Parenthood are paid for by the over 700,000 regular donors that make up over 1/4 of their revenue.

#4. As of 2012, teen pregnancies are highest in states with abstinence-only policies. To quote Buddy Guy, "I didn't make up the rules".

#5. Wasn't complaining, just stating the facts regarding Israel that you omitted from your complaint about foreign aid to other countries. Your bad.

#6. Bullies never like it when the target fights back....

#7. Huh?

#8. Hahahaha. It's probably not in my best interest to tell you to scroll down to the article "Study: Bathroom wait longer for women at hall - I believe Sat/Sun. Mentioned you in a comment. But this is hilarious. I say this with all sincerity ~ should, if in a stall, I ever read "Call Vlad for a good time....", I will be forever grateful that I am in a location commensurate with my response!

#9. Now that this is spiraling into off-topicness, I bid you adieu.

Boater

Why don't you put your money towards it instead of suggesting others do it?

Lanivan

I suppose as a taxpayer for decades, my money does go towards it. And being a boater - like you, and having a deep love for the Great Lakes, if I was in the category of the top wealthiest billionaires in the country, I would absolutely donate money to the cause.

Tri-cities realist

Excuses excuses

Lanivan

Yeah - it's that selfishness thing. Any thoughts on Great Lakes Restoration and funding cuts?

Tri-cities realist

Sure, glad you asked. I don't see why the federal govt needs to get involved. There already is a coalition of the Great Lakes states, perhaps the states could handle it on their own. Do the bureaucrats in Washington DC really want cleaner water than we do?

Ole

Another little (not so little) fact left out, largest freshwater lake by volume Lake Baikal . . . One lake.

 

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