Despite deep budget cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency at large, the budget plan for 2021 proposed by President Trump grants full funding to protection programs for the Great Lakes.
Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year includes $320 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, according to MLive. Trump originally tried to cut the program by 90 percent before submitting a new proposal that granted an extra $20 million for the initiative.
Congress has approved $300 million for the GLRI ever since 2014. Trump’s proposal bumps that number to $320 million.
One Michigan representative called the action “exciting.”
“I commend the Administration for proposing significant resources for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,” said U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) in a statement. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: don’t mess with the Great Lakes. These resources are needed to keep Asian carp and other invasive species out of our Great Lakes, to ensure that our water is clean and safe, and to maintain the beauty of these Lakes for generations to come.”
Despite the increase in funding for environmental programs in Michigan, the administration slashed the budget for the EPA generally. The agency now faces a 26 percent reduction in funding and the elimination of 50 programs, according to The New York Times.
The budget Trump proposed slots $6.7 billion in total spending for the EPA, shrinking the agency to spending levels it last saw during the 1990s. The budget also aims at focusing on “core functions” for the EPA, like addressing lead exposure in water and cleaning up toxic sites, and plans to cut programs that fall outside those functions.
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) also praised the bolstering of funding for the Great Lakes.
“In this budget the President demonstrated his commitment to Michigan and the entire Great Lakes region by fully funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,” Huizenga said in a statement. “Having the President engage on this critical issue improves the chances for bipartisan legislation to be signed into law that will protect and strengthen the Great Lakes. I want to thank the President and his Administration for working with me to make the preservation of the Great Lakes a national priority.”
The budget proposal will still need to pass Congress.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]