Group asks candidates to back Great Lakes program

An environmental coalition is asking this year's presidential candidates for a pledge to continue an extensive restoration of the Great Lakes and action to keep the lakes free of Asian carp.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition said Tuesday it has sent the request to the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Republican hopefuls Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

It seeks a commitment to keep funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is targeting ecological problems such as invasive species, toxic hot spots, polluted runoff from farms and cities and declining wildlife habitat.

Obama and Romney made similar pledges during the 2008 campaign. After taking office, Obama kicked off the restoration initiative. Congress has approved his requests for more than $1 billion for the program.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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