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Activists promise fight for more Great Lakes money

February 03, 2010 at 02:04 PM

AP Environmental Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Great Lakes advocates pledged Wednesday to lobby Congress to improve on President Barack Obama’s request of $300 million to fight invasive species, cleanse polluted sites and improve wildlife habitat across the region.

While praising Obama for stepping up Great Lakes environmental spending, activists said his proposal for the 2011 budget still represents a 36 percent cut from the 2010 appropriation of $475 million.

“The need for increased Great Lakes restoration funding is higher than ever,” Gildo Tori, regional public policy director for Ducks Unlimited, said in a phone conference.

The groups said they would push Congress to at least match the current year’s $475 million. That amount, they said, would improve prospects for fulfilling Obama’s campaign pledge of $5 billion over a decade.

“The administration started strong; it needs to stay strong,” said Andy Buchsbaum, co-chair of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said he believes there is strong support among Congress members from Great Lakes states to restore the funding, and he is “hopeful we can do so.”

The groups’ plea comes at a time of rising public anger over budget deficits and complaints from many in Congress that Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget would spend too much.

Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, described the proposed Great Lakes funding Monday as “robust” in view of the struggling economy. She noted that much of the 2010 money had not been spent.

But there’s no shortage of needs, Tori said. EPA’s call for proposals to use the first $120 million from the current year’s pot of money drew about 1,500 submissions seeking a combined $300 million, he said.

Fixing the lakes would be good for the economy and create jobs, said Jeff Skelding, the Healing Our Waters coalition’s campaign director. Carrying out a wide-ranging plan known as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would generate $50 billion worth of economic activity - twice as much as it would cost, according to a 2007 Brookings Institution study.

“We certainly appreciate the difficult economy,” Buchsbaum said. “But deep cuts in the Great Lakes restoration budget are not the answer.”

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Maybe Buchsbaum and Skelding should trying getting a real job instead of going around and groveling at the taxpayer’s teat. 300 million would be better spent putting people back to work with real jobs, instead of hiring 2 scientists to figure out how to control carp, or poisoning all game fish to solve the problem. Besides the whole damn federal government budget needs to be cut to prevent 2 generations from living at a standard far below what ours used to be.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/04 at 06:34 PM

reddog I do understand your anger, believe me, I love my country but hate our goverment. But at least they are spending the money for something that a lot of people can benefit from. I have a buddy that has a place in WI. and I have started going with him fishing there, and it is something else. At least they are not giving money for someone to find out why cats have two eyes, four legs and one tale or why frogs don’t have wings so they don’t bump their a$$ so often. Or to some other country!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/05 at 12:26 PM

Agreed reddog140. These groups start up and then can’t get enough money from their members so they begin lobbing for government sponsored looting of their fellow citizens for their self perceived crisis. The feds are broke, states are broke, people don’t have jobs, we are at war, communist China owns us, etc….and yet they continue to swim around in their little fish bowl.” But there’s no shortage of needs, Tori said”. There never will be for these people. Berlin your point is well taken however when a request of $300 million is not good enough with the problems this country faces it smacks of an arrogance that rubs already raw skin.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/05 at 01:00 PM

time to go I totally agree with you and reddog, but I think you know where I was coming from. I just get sick of the whole thing also. And you know it isn’t going to get better any time soon, 3/4 of the people are like sheep, hear what they like and they will follow anybody, and you have politicians that if they were standing on a 10’ ft. ladder can’t pi$$ hard against the ground. You know, looking back into history, the American Indian did have it right before we showed up.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/05 at 01:57 PM

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