Region reacts to proposed funding cut of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
In its proposed “skinny budget,” the Trump administration proposed eliminating funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). With Congress making final the decisions regarding federal spending, elected officials and others from throughout the Great Lakes states are working to include funding in the FY2018 budget.
GLRI was launched in 2010 by the Obama Administration to fund the restoration of the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes. To date, Congress has appropriated more than $2 billion to the program. These funds have been used for more than 2,000 different projects, including several of interest to Great Lakes ports. Last year, Congress formally authorized the program at an annual funding level of $300 million.
“The President’s budget proposal is an initial blueprint for us to use as we start our budget work, but Congress has the final say. I’m confident that I can work with my colleagues here in the House of Representatives to secure essential funding for the GLRI,” said Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) in prepared remarks.
Stakeholders from the region’s shipping industry have also submitted letters asking Congress to continue to include the annual Congressional authorization of $300 million for the program in the final budget. Examples of the program’s impact include Cat Island restoration near Green Bay, Wisconsin and the Great Ships Initiative, the region’s only ballast treatment technology test center.