Proposed budget cuts would hurt Great Lakes

WEST MICHIGAN — Proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could lead to less funding for protection of the Great Lakes.

The Trump Administration is proposing a $3 billion budget reduction to the EPA. A part of this budget reduction would include a vast reduction in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $300 million a year to just $30 million a year. The proposed cuts would take place in 2019.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds projects like water quality oversight, wildlife habitat preservation and agricultural runoff mitigation.

Environmental activists say the proposed cuts to this initiative would not only hurt the environment, it would also hurt the local economy.

“We’ve got funding to fight invasive species, and that’s really important too,” said Bill Wood, Executive Director at West Michigan Environmental Action Council​​. “I mean, if you think about the Asian Carp… That’s one that’s pretty big on the radar right now. If that gets into Lake Michigan and starts to get into some of Michigan’s rivers, that could really decimate some of our fishing industry and some of our tourism industry that comes along with it.”

FOX 17 spoke with both Representative Dan Kildee of Michigan’s 5th District and Representative Bill Huizenga of Michigan’s 2nd District on this issue. Both are optimistic that bipartisan resistance to this proposed cut will lead to full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2019.

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