Trump seeks elimination of Great Lakes restoration funding

Great Lakes
The Great Lakes on June 14, 2013.
Courtesy Karen L. Nyberg 2013

Updated: 11:15 a.m. | Posted: 9:45 a.m.

President Trump wants to eliminate federal support of a program that addresses the Great Lakes' most pressing environmental threats.

Trump's 2018 budget released Thursday would remove all funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has received strong support from members of Congress in both parties since President Barack Obama established it in 2009.

The program has pumped more than $2.2 billion into the eight-state region for projects that have removed toxic wastes from industrial harbors, fought invasive species such as Asian carp, restored wildlife habitat and supported efforts to prevent harmful algal blooms.

The initiative has generally received about $300 million a year. Congress voted last year to authorize the program for five more years.

A Trump campaign representative said last fall the Republican nominee supported the program.

A bipartisan coalition of Wisconsin's congressional delegation had urged Trump not to cut funding.

Seven Republican and Democratic members of Congress from Wisconsin joined with 40 other lawmakers in signing a letter to Trump in February asking him to fund the program that President Barack Obama established in 2009. House Speaker Paul Ryan did not sign the letter and his spokeswoman did not immediately return a message Thursday.

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