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The uncertain future of Great Lakes funding

Sleeping Bear Dunes
Rebecca Williams
Michigan Radio
Sleeping Bear Dunes

Now that President Trump has signed the spending bill, Great Lakes funding is safe, at least for now.

TheGreat Lakes Restoration Initiative is funded in full for 2017. But Trump wants to eliminate this funding entirely in his2018 budget proposal.

Todd Ambs is the campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. He says projects that are funded under the GLRI will continue as planned for now.

“The restoration initiative, now in its eighth year, will be able to move forward on a number of important ongoing projects and continue work to clean up toxic hot spots, and fight the spread of invasive species; spend on important projects to reduce excess nutrients that are flowing into the lakes," he says.

The EPA’s funding stands to be cut by 31% in the 2018 budget proposal. Ambs says if those cuts go through, there will be many ripple effects on Great Lakes restoration work.

"It would bring a lot of the restoration work to an absolute halt. Polluted runoff is the number one water quality problem in every Great Lakes state and yet the program through the EPA that provides all of those federal dollars is proposed for elimination under the Trump budget proposal," he says. "So it would simply bring to a halt efforts to reduce polluted runoff across the region.”

Listen to the interview with Todd Ambs above.

Rebecca Williams is senior editor in the newsroom, where she edits stories and helps guide news coverage.