Congressional leaders released a bipartisan spending plan Monday that will continue to fund the Great Lakes cleanup program — originally part of the Trump administration’s cut of over 50 million dollars per year to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The GLRI was founded in 2010 in order to clean up the Great Lakes as well as control the number of invasive species in the area, restore marine-life habitats and lessen nutrient runoff. President Donald Trump’s preliminary budget proposal, released mid-March, threatened to cut funding, and elicited responses from state representatives. 

United States Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), a member of the Federal Spending Oversignt Subcommittee, released a statement in March expressing concern and noting the importance of drinking water the Great Lakes provide. 

“President Trump’s proposed budget makes drastic cuts that will hit Michigan families and businesses in both urban and rural areas especially hard, including cuts to transportation services education, job training, and programs that are essential for protecting the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes, which provide drinking water to 40 million people and support Michigan’s multi-billion-dollar shipping, fishing and agricultural industries,” he said.

Nevertheless, in a recent statement, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D–Mich.) said she was pleased with the bipartisan effort to retain funding for the GLRI. She also noted as current co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, she will continue to work with her colleagues to ensure Trump does not take more funding from the Great Lakes.

“I am pleased to have successfully led the bipartisan effort to stop President Trump from cutting $50 million in Great Lakes funding this year,” she said. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has always received bipartisan support and is absolutely critical to supporting Michigan jobs and protecting our Great Lakes, including fishing, boating, hunting and stopping invasive species. As Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I will continue working with my colleagues across the aisle to make sure President Trump’s plan to completely eliminate Great Lakes funding next year is stopped.”

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R–Mich.), who co-chairs the House Great Lakes Task Force, told the Detroit News the bill supports the Great Lakes as a source of economic growth in Michigan.

“The health and vitality of the Great Lakes are instrumental to having a productive economy that creates good-paying jobs and sustained economic growth in Michigan,” he said.

LSA sophomore Lauren Schandevel, public relations chair of the University of Michigan’s chapter of College Democrats and a columnist for the Daily, emphasized that College Democrats are very pleased by the bipartisan effort to keep the Great Lakes clean.

“We’re thrilled to see politicians working across the aisle to help preserve our Great Lakes,” she said.

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