Great Lakes cleanup a top priority

The federal budget is out and the result is there: The Great Lakes will get the attention they need.
Jan 29, 2014

A spending bill created by congressional leaders would allocate $300 million to a Great Lakes cleanup. That money was threatened with a massive cut during recent budget battles that would have hacked almost 80 percent of the funding away.

Given the serious nature of the program, and what our lakes mean locally and across the region, the proposed cuts were a cause for major concern.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative deals with some of the lakes' most serious environmental problems: invasive species, loss of wetlands and wildlife habitat, toxic pollution, and runoff that causes algae blooms.

The issues the program tackles aren’t going away, especially with the threat of new invasive species knocking on the door to our Great Lakes.

By allowing funding to remain at $300 million levels, it shows a commitment to the environment and our Great Lakes way of life. From tourism to fishing, the lakes mean big bucks for the economy.

And given this funding boost, our elected leaders need to keep the momentum going for funding programs that improve the quality of the Great Lakes. Let's not revert to this roller-coaster budgeting process where, in a year or two, lawmakers decided to slash the program again.

The goal of keeping the Great Lakes pristine and well kept can’t be done if researchers and those in charge of cleaning up the lakes aren’t given the resources to properly do their jobs.

There’s only one Great Lakes ecosystem, and we need to have the tools and money in place to protect this unique, natural asset.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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