The Lead

‘They are big, very deep, record deepness:’ Trump will fund Great Lakes cleanup after all

By: - March 29, 2019 5:16 pm

Driftwood on Lake Erie. Photo by Francine Pallister, CC BY-SA 3.0, WikiMedia Commons

Just weeks after his administration proposed slashing federal cleanup money for the Great Lakes from $300 million to $30 million, President Donald Trump says the program will be fully funded after all.

During a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Thursday, Trump told a crowd, “We have some breaking news!” The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported.

“You ready? Can you handle it?” he asked, according to The Plain-Dealer. “I don’t think you can handle it. I support the Great Lakes. Always have. They are beautiful. They are big, very deep, record deepness, right? And I am going to get, in honor of my friends, full funding of $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which you have been trying to get for over 30 years. So, we will get it done.”

More from The Plain Dealer:

Since entering the White House, all the yearly budgets that Trump has presented to Congress suggested cuts to the program, but Congress has overruled Trump by giving the program $300 million each year. Over the past two years, Trump proposed a 90 percent cut to the program. During his first year in office, Trump called for eliminating the program.

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf joined with a bipartisan group of Great Lakes state governors to rip proposed Trump administration budget cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

In a statement, the governors said “the Great Lakes hold 21 percent of the world’s freshwater” and argued “they are among the most vital ecological and economic resources in America.”

Because of that, “slashing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 90 percent would cost our states thousands of good-paying jobs, hurt our tourism and recreation industries, and jeopardize public health. This is a risk we simply can’t afford to take.”

Wolf signed the statement with Democratic Govs. Gretchen Whitmer, of Michigan; Tony Evers, of Wisconsin; and J.B. Pritzker, of Illinois; as well as Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, of Ohio.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.