Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Miller, Levin fight proposed cuts to Great Lakes funding

Reps. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Candice Miller (R-Mich.) recently joined forces to reject a House plan that would significantly reduce funding for the Great Lakes.

Levin and Miller are part of a six-member House coalition pushing to preserve funding that protects the Great Lakes from pollution and invasive species.

A recent vote by the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee advanced a measure that would cut federal funds for the Great Lakes Recovery Initiative from $250 million to $60 million.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has received bipartisan support since 2009 and was put on a list of priorities by President George W. Bush.

The funding has provided the Great Lakes a total of $1.3 billion in recent years. The allocation is spent on the protection of the lakes from Asian carp and other disruptive species. The initiative is also designed to enhance wetlands, bolster fish and wildlife, rectify shoreline deterioration, and reduce sewer overflows and toxic contaminants.

The subcommittee's cuts are a piece of a broader spending bill that is designed to implement the second year of sequestration cuts. The measure has been referred to the full Appropriations Committee.

The measure recently introduced by Levin and Miller would prevent the cuts from being considered by the full House.

"The bill we are a major step in the right direction, but it will be essential for Congress to follow up and provide the resources to fully fund all these vital Great Lakes programs and initiatives," Levin said.