Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Could Be Eliminated with Trump’s Budget Proposal

“In Michigan, you know our economy here especially up north, depends on clean water,” said Sarah U’Ren, program director for Watershed Center of Grand Traverse Bay.

Many Northern Michigan programs could see significant cuts if the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is eliminated.

“Just the Watershed Center alone, we’ve gotten $4.5 million of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding over the last several years,” said U’Ren.

The Watershed Center is worried about what would happen to our lakes.

“If the GLRI were to go away and we didn’t have that source of funding, we wouldn’t be able to do a lot of these projects,” said U’Ren. “We would probably not be able to take on large scale projects in Suttons Bay or in the city of Traverse City because we just wouldn’t have that funding opportunity available.”

“It’s going to impact the state of Michigan the most because Michigan benefits the most from that program,” said Kent Wood, Director of Government Relations for the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce.

Not only could these cuts have an environmental impact, there could be also be a significant economic effect.

“It’s going to be a very big deal for the whole state and a really big deal for us businesses, especially those relying on beaches and water quality and tourism,” said Wood. “It’s going to be a huge deal for us.”

Michigan’s lawmakers in Washington, on both sides, know the importance of this funding and without their support, it would be difficult to defund the GLRI.

“We heard from both, all offices that we spoke to no matter if they were republican or democrat, mentioned their support of the great lakes restoration initiative and how they would push back,” said Wood.

The Traverse City Chamber hopes people contact their lawmakers and ask them to protect the program.

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