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Clean Water Advocates: Great Lakes Need a Budget Splash, Not a Trickle

February 8, 2007


The Great Lakes need a big splash in the federal budget, but according to clean water advocates, they're getting just a trickle. A White House panel recently called for widespread action to prevent pollution and stop invasive species. However, Jeff Skelding of the Healing Our Waters Coalition says the latest Bush administration budget proposal makes big cuts in programs that already are underfunded.

"Public health will suffer as well as the recreation industry in the Great Lakes, which is an enormous economic engine that drives all the states in the basin. We're going to see diminished hunting, angling, and recreational opportunities."

Skelding stresses this is not just an issue for people on the Lake Erie coastline; that poor water quality and invasive species affect inland rivers and lakes as well. Skelding hopes lawmakers will make a major effort to help the Great Lakes as the budget battle in Congress heats up in the coming months.

Chad Lord with the National Parks Conservation Association says wastewater overflow is another serious problem facing the Great Lakes.

"Sewage overflows will continue to pollute the near-shore waters of Lake Erie, which closes beaches and keeps people from the areas near the shore."

Like Skelding, Lord feels the White House budget doesn't do enough to mitigate the environmental damage.

Rob Ferrett/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - OH