Following the money

Yes, yesterday was the day of the White House carp summit with the governors, and the feds also released their big Asian carp response plan.

But right now I’d like to squeeze in a little non-Asian carp news on the Administration’s Great Lakes budget. The President proposed $300 million for FY 2011, which you can look at as either a $175 million cut from last year or the second largest Great Lakes budget allocation in history.

The Healing Our Water’s Coalition response is posted below. Of course, later this week look for a return to the carp issue.


Coalition Urges Congress to Restore Funding for Great Lakes

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (Feb. 3, 2010)—The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition today urged Congress to restore funding for Great Lakes restoration, following the release of President Obama’s budget on Monday. The president’s budget includes $300 million for his Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a 36 percent reduction from the $475 million he requested in his inaugural budget.

“Although President Obama’s budget makes Great Lakes restoration a priority, the proposed funding will make it difficult to keep pace with the urgent threats facing the Lakes,” said Jeff Skelding, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “We’re going to work with Congress and the White House to restore funding to Great Lakes programs before the problems get worse and the solutions get more costly.”

President Obama proposed in his inaugural budget a new, precedent-setting $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that helped jump-start long-stalled federal action to restore the Lakes, the largest freshwater resource in the world.

The Administration started strong; it needs to stay strong,” said Andy Buchsbaum, co-chair of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center. “After years of federal inaction, there is a huge need to fund solutions that advance Great Lakes restoration and economic recovery. We look forward to working with the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress to make that happen.”

In January, the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition—in collaboration with regional organizations representing state, industry, business, conservation and tribal leaders—sent a letter urging the Obama Administration to maintain funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million.

The initiative invests in solutions to stop aquatic invasive species that cost the region at least $200 million annually in damage and control costs; clean up contaminated sediments that pose a threat to the health of people and wildlife; and restore wetlands and other habitat that protect water quality, prevent flooding and serve as the foundation of the region’s outdoor economy.

The need for increased Great Lakes restoration funding is higher than ever,” said Gildo Tori, director of public policy at the Great Lakes and Atlantic Regional Office of Ducks Unlimited. “Our goal is for Congress to fully fund solutions that restore the Great Lakes, which are the foundation of our economy and way of life.”

The Brookings Institution found that the eight-state Great Lakes region of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin stands to gain at least $2 in economic benefit for every $1 invested in Great Lakes restoration.

“Fully funding Great Lakes restoration will benefit people, businesses and communities,” said Skelding. “We have the solutions to these urgent problems. It is time to use them.”

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 100 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

For more information, visit: HealthyLakes.org

For Immediate Release:
February 3, 2010

Contact:
Jordan Lubetkin, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, (734) 887-7109, lubetkin@nwf.org

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