Two and a half months after his first round of budget proposals
, President Trump returns with another package that once again suggests eliminating the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. (In the interim, Congress approved a $1.1-trillion "omnibus spending bill" to keep the federal government functioning through September. The GLRI funds were kept intact.)
But despite widespread opposition
to the Great Lakes cuts, Trump is sticking to his guns. Amid outcry, he did ultimately drop a plan to divert $50 million of the GLRI's $300-million budget toward funding the Mexican border wall.
But Trump and EPA Director Scott Pruitt nonetheless have kept the Great Lakes funding in their cross-hairs.
The GLRI funds things like water quality oversight, agricultural runoff mitigation, wildlife habitat preservation
. The sum total of the GLRI projects should remind American voters and taxpayers that we're still participants in an ecosystem, and the process that we've built suggests the federal government has a role in funding the management of the natural world.
Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have both committed to opposing cuts to Great Lakes federal funding.
Along with the total elimination of the Great Lakes restoration work, this latest budget includes decreases on many EPA line items relevant to Northeast Ohio. The Superfund pollution control and remediation programs could be cut by 25 percent. Those sorts of programs have cleaned up (and continue to clean up) countless post-industrial wastelands, clearing the way for redevelopment. The ongoing work at the old Painesville Diamond Shamrock site
is a close-to-home example of where federal Superfund dollars end up.