Ohio congress members critical of Trump cuts
Ohio congressional members critical of proposals
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.