Lawmakers rally around Great Lakes funding

Ashtabula Star Beacon

WASHINGTON — Numerous House and Senate Republicans in Ohio broke with President Trump Monday on a plan to slash funding for Great Lakes clean up.

The president’s budget proposal — which is just a legislative suggestion and has no binding power over Congress — would cut the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding from $300 million this year to $30 million next year. The bipartisan Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funds clean up efforts in polluted Great Lakes sites, addresses threats of Asian carp and other invasive species, combats algal blooms and restores habitats for fish and wildlife, according to U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce’s office. 

It is the third straight year the president has suggested gutting the program, and each time bipartisan supporters have rallied around it. 

Both Ohio’s Senators said they oppose the cuts.

“For the past few years, no matter whether it was a Republican or Democratic-led administration, there have been attempts to cut or eliminate funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. And every year, we have successfully defeated those efforts and ensured that this critical program receives full funding,” Republican Sen. Rob Portman said. 

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown called the cuts “unacceptable.”

“Ohioans rely on Lake Erie for jobs, clean drinking water, and a place to enjoy with their families. Instead of investing in Ohio communities so they can grow and create jobs, President Trump is asking Ohioans to pay for tax cuts for millionaires by gutting Great Lakes programs and eliminating economic development efforts,” he said, adding he would continue to work with Portman to maintain the funding.

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Lawmakers rally around Great Lakes funding »