Ohio congress mem­bers crit­i­cal of Trump cuts

Ohio con­gres­sional mem­bers crit­i­cal of pro­pos­als

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By An­drew Cass acass@news-her­ald.com @An­drewCassNH on Twit­ter

With money for en­vi­ron­men­tal cleanup on the bud­get chop­ping block, Ohio speaks out against the cuts.

An­other year, an­other fight over fund­ing for the Great Lakes Restora­tion Ini­tia­tive.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pro­posed fis­cal year 2019 bud­get in­tro­duced Feb. 12 se­verely slashes fund­ing for the pro­gram sup­ported by Ohio con­gres­sional mem­bers from both par­ties.

Trump’s pro­posal would cut fund­ing for the GLRI from $300 mil­lion to $30 mil­lion.

Since it was ap­proved in 2009, the GLRI has given more than $2 bil­lion to the eight-state re­gion for projects that have re­moved toxic wastes from in­dus­trial har­bors, fought in­va­sive species such as Asian carp, re­stored wildlife habi­tat and sup­ported ef­forts to pre­vent al­gal blooms.

GLRI gen­er­ally re­ceives $300 mil­lion a year in fund­ing. Last year, Trump’s pro­posed bud­get ze­roed out the pro­gram com­pletely, but it ul­ti­mately re­ceived full fund­ing.

“This amount is nowhere close to the amount nec­es­sary to fully re­store and pro­tect our Great Lakes, which serve as the pri­mary fresh water source for the sur­round­ing ar­eas,” Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Bainbridge Town­ship, said of the pres­i­dent’s $30 mil­lion pro­posal. “I will work closely with the bi­par­ti­san Great Lakes Task Force and other mem­bers of Congress to en­sure more fund­ing is se­cured to nec­es­sary stan­dards.”

Repub­li­can Sen. Rob Port­man said he will do ev­ery­thing he can to pro­tect Lake Erie and other Great Lakes.

“The Great Lakes are an in­valu­able re­source to Ohio, and this ini­tia­tive has been a suc­cess­ful pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship that helps pro­tect both our en­vi­ron­ment and our econ­omy,” Port­man said.

“As the world’s largest fresh­wa­ter body, the Great Lakes pro­vide drink­ing water for 40 mil­lion peo­ple, con­tribute $10 bil­lion in tourism each year, and sup­port hun­dreds of thou­sands of jobs across the re­gion.”

Speak­ing of the pres­i­dent’s pro­posed bud­get, Demo­cratic Sen. Sher­rod Brown said it slashes Ohio pri­or­i­ties.

“In­stead of in­vest­ing in Ohio com­mu­ni­ties, so they can grow and cre­ate jobs, the pres­i­dent’s bud­get asks Ohioans to pay for tax cuts for mil­lion­aires by gut­ting Great Lakes pro­grams and elim­i­nat­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” Brown said.

Rep. Marcy Kap­tur, D-Toledo, called the cuts to GLRI un­ac­cept­able.

“We’ll fight these harm­ful cuts that will take us back­ward on restor­ing the lakes,” she said.

The House Great Lakes Task Force re­leased a state­ment stat­ing the bi­par­ti­san del­e­ga­tion is united in its sup­port of the pro­gram, which they said has made much progress in clean­ing up the lakes, but ef­forts must con­tinue.

“Much work re­mains, how­ever, to deal with both the legacy pol­lu­tants as well as the new threats of harm­ful al­gal blooms and in­va­sive species like Asian carp,” the group said in a joint state­ment.

“There­fore, we were all very dis­ap­pointed to see that the pres­i­dent’s bud­get once again fails to rec­og­nize the value of GLRI and the im­por­tance of the Lakes to our re­gion. We look for­ward to work­ing to­gether, once again, to pro­vide nec­es­sary fund­ing for the health and safety of our Great Lakes.”

Kap­tur co-chairs the task force along with Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Michi­gan, and Sean Duffy, R-Wis­con­sin. Joyce is the North­east-Mid­west Con­gres­sional Coali­tion co-chair­man along with Rep. Rick Nolan, Min­nesota.


Al­gae floats in the water at the Maumee Bay State Park ma­rina in 2017 in Lake Erie in Ore­gon, Ohio.

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