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[UPDATE] Did you hear what we are doing today?

Posted on March 15, 2017 by

Yesterday, I let you know that my fellow coworkers were in Washington, D.C. to support restoration programs in the Great Lakes. The Trump Administration was expected to slash the budget to this program by 97%.
The 97% cut to Great Lakes restoration programs apparently wasn’t sufficient for the President, whose budget released today zeroes out funding for the program entirely. They propose a 100% cut for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, arguing that our region is not one of the “highest national priorities” and can therefore be taken care of solely by state and local governments. Unfortunately none of these amazing lakes is within one state’s boundaries! We need to continue to stand up for 20% of the world’s fresh surface water! In addition, the agency responsible for our clean air and clean water would receive a 32% overall cut to its budget.

How to support your objection to this proposed cut:
– Show your support, with a donation to Freshwater Future. Your gift supports our efforts, and ensures we can continue to work to keep these restoration efforts and our Great Lakes waters on track
– Support Freshwater Future through smile.amazon.com – today only, they are giving back 5% of eligible purchases to the Non Profit of your choice – find Freshwater Future at smile.amazon.com under Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund
– Let your members of congress know it is important to keep Great Lakes Restoration Funding in the EPA’s budget. We’ll provide you an opportunity to do this at the most strategic time.

Thank you for your support.

We’ve updated the press release below from the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which Freshwater Future helps to lead, to learn more about the proposed budget.

Trump Budget Eliminates Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,
Leaving Fate of Lakes in Hands of U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2017)—The Trump Administration’s budget released today eliminates the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a popular program responsible for cleaning up toxic pollution, restoring wildlife habitat, controlling invasive species and reducing runoff from cities and farms. The cuts are part of the administration’s efforts to gut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by $2.6 billion, almost one-third of the budget for the agency responsible for ensuring every American has clean, safe drinking water. During the presidential campaign, representatives of Trump pledged to support federal Great Lakes restoration investments.

Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:

“For the 30 million people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, health, jobs, and way of life, the Trump Administration budget is a total non-starter. The Trump Administration’s budget makes it abundantly clear that real leadership to benefit the people of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois will have to come from Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress, who have worked together over the last seven years to invest in Great Lakes restoration projects that are producing results for the environment and economy in local communities across the region. We look forward to working with Congress to restore funding to these important programs to ensure that Great Lakes restoration remains a top national priority.”

Read the White House budget at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf

EPA and Great Lakes restoration cuts can be found on page 41-42

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 145 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. For more information visit http://www.healthylakes.org Follow us on twitter @healthylakes.

Previous Release:
Great Lakes Advocates in D.C. to Urge Congress to Keep Restoration Efforts on Track

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 15, 2017) – Days after leaked Trump Administration budget numbers telegraphed steep cuts of up to 97 percent for core Great Lakes programs, advocates for the lakes are gathering in Washington, D.C., to meet with members of congress to keep federal restoration efforts on track.

“We have many strong Great Lakes champions in Congress,” said Todd Ambs, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, “and we’re looking forward to working with them to maintain full funding for our core programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Great Lakes investments are producing results, but serious threats remain. Cutting funding now will only make projects more difficult and expensive the longer we wait.”

This annual gathering, known as Great Lakes Day, brings in around 100 citizens from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York to meet with members of congress to discuss the impact restoration funding has had on their communities, their jobs, and their way of life. Great Lakes Day is March 15-16 this year and is hosted by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and the Great Lakes Commission.

Great Lakes advocates will hold a rally today at the U.S. Capitol which will be streamed on Facebook Live. Tune in at 3 p.m. Eastern at https://www.facebook.com/healthylakes/

Activists from around the region will be asking their U.S. representatives and senators to:

· Fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million to protect clean drinking water, keep beaches open, stop toxic algal blooms, and support outdoor recreation.
· Curb sewage overflows and protect clean drinking water by supporting the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds—funding for states to address outdated infrastructure.
· Defend from cuts core programs at federal agencies that are critical to the operation of Great Lakes programs such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The gathering in Washington, D.C., comes amid Trump Administration executive orders to roll back clean water protections and threats to cut Great Lakes programs and the budgets of federal agencies that administer those programs. The Coalition is urging public officials to hold the line against cuts to both on-the-ground restoration efforts that are producing results and funding for agencies like the EPA that are responsible for ensuring every American has access to clean water.

“Robust funding for core Great Lakes restoration programs need to go hand-in-hand with support for agencies,” said Ambs. “Both investments are critical to the millions of people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. Our work is not done until all of the region’s people—particularly those who have borne the brunt of racial, environmental and economic injustice—can have access to affordable, clean, safe drinking water; eat fish that are safe and not toxic; and live healthy lives that are not undermined by toxic pollutants and legacy contaminants.”

Since 2010, the federal government has invested more than $2.2 billion in the region to clean up toxic pollution, restore wildlife habitat, control invasive species, and prevent polluted runoff from entering the lakes. More than 3,800 miles of river habitat have been opened up to fish through dam removals, and 150,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat have been restored. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has documented more than 140 Great Lakes restoration success stories.

In addition to advocating for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Coalition will be speaking with Congress about funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds that provide low-interest loans to help communities pay for expensive infrastructure improvement projects. More than $192 billion is needed over the next 20 years, according to the EPA, to update the drinking water and waste water in the Great Lakes states.

“Many communities in the Great Lakes region are faced with crumbling infrastructure, aging sewer lines, and outdated drinking water facilities,” said Ambs. “Communities and businesses are counting on reliable water infrastructure that are the foundation of our health, economy and way of life.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administers the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds as well as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Advocates have listed defending the EPA as a top priority.

“The Environmental Protection Agency helped resurrect the Great Lakes in the 70s and 80s,” said Ambs, “and since its inception, the agency has been a strong defender of clean water and clean air for all Americans. The protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and other rivers, lakes and streams across the country simply cannot happen without a strong Environmental Protection Agency.”

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 145 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. For more information visit http://www.healthylakes.org Follow us on twitter @healthylakes.

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@FreshwaterFutur

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.