In response to President Trump’s proposed budget slashes that would dry up Great Lakes conservation funding, politicians from both sides of the aisle are rallying in defense of our nation’s uniquely precious watershed.
In an opinion published in The Hill on March 7th, Representative Dan Kildee of Michigan wrote that “These cuts would cease programs seeking to stop the spread invasive species like Asian carp and zebra mussels. Habitat restoration efforts, like a recent project by Ducks Unlimited to restore wetlands near the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, would no longer happen. And public health would be jeopardized—funding to prevent harmful algal blooms, like the one that occurred in Toledo affecting the drinking water of 400,000 people, would be gone."
In fact, the protection and conservation of the Great Lakes has historically been one of the few things that Democrats and Republicans have been able to agree on. After all, not only are the Great Lakes a precious resource in that they contain 20% of the world’s freshwater reserves, but they and their health are directly responsible for thousands of quality American jobs and the seat of much economic enterprise.
Representative Kildee points out that: “that’s why there is strong bipartisan opposition to the Trump administration’s recent draft budget that slashes Great Lakes protection efforts by 97 percent. Under this proposed Environmental Protection Agency budget, essential programs to reduce pollution and protect the Great Lakes from invasive species would all but be eliminated. These extreme cuts would have disastrous consequences on the health of the Great Lakes and our economy."
Representative Kildee wryly remarks, “I’m from Flint, Michigan – with our city’s ongoing water crisis, we know what happens when government tries to cut their way to prosperity.” This comment referencing the unsafe lead levels in the Flint, Michigan water supply from old pipes.
Rep. Kildee says, “Our constituents get it – according to a recent poll, 86 percent of residents in a state bordering the Great Lakes understand and support Great Lakes protections programs that President Trump is seeking to end. Many of these voters cast their ballots for President Trump and oppose these deep cuts.”
It is certainly in all of our best interests to reconsider these terrible cuts and to preserve these Lakes for ourselves and our children.
See article in the Hill for Representative Kildee's full opinion piece.