The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, responsible for eliminating pollution and combating invasive species in the Great Lakes, is losing $50 million of their budget as part of President Donald Trump’s $18 billion immediate budget cuts. The funds will be used to help pay for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, according to The Detroit News.
The cuts will also strip $1.2 billion from the National Institutes of Health research-grants program, $1.5 billion in block grants for community development and $30 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sea Grant program, the Associated Press reported.
The GLRI’s budget is $300 million for this fiscal year. The program also works to fix watersheds and create environmentally friendly infrastructure.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D–Mich.) told The Detroit News the GLRI was already expected to experience budget cuts next year, but targeting its current budget is detrimental to the lakes’ future.
“After the president zeroed out Great Lakes funding in next year's budget, it adds insult to injury that his administration is requesting close to a $50 million cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in this year's budget, too,” Stabenow said. “I will continue to work across the aisle to stop cuts to this important initiative that helps protect and restore the Great Lakes.”
The GLRI was founded in 2010 with the purpose of protecting and maintaining the Great Lakes, the largest fresh surface-water system in the world. The initiative is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, an organization that has recently been under fire from Trump with his executive order yesterday that rolls back on former President Barack Obama’s climate-change efforts.
EPA has identified 11 Areas of Concern for the GLRI to focus on, many located near areas with a large industrial presence.