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Environmentalists Want Great Lakes Money To Flow Through Congress

May 21, 2009

Ann Arbor, MI - President Obama's plan to infuse $475 million into a new Great Lakes restoration and economic recovery initiative has Michigan environmental groups calling for Congress to act soon. The National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) Great Lakes office director, Andy Buchsbaum, says the money will reverse the trend of past presidents who ignored the Great Lakes, while resuming efforts to improve the five major bodies of fresh water.

"It would control toxic substances in areas of concern, stop invasive species, keep open our beaches and open the ones that have closed because of sewage spills and other pollution, and it would restore wetlands to keep the Great Lakes healthy."

We can't abandon the Great Lakes, says Buchsbaum, which he calls our biggest and best natural asset.

"We are known for the beauty of our lakes, streams and forests. We are known for the recreational opportunities of the lakes. Unlike the rest of the world, we have abundant fresh water, not just for drinking, but for industry. That's an asset that we have to maintain. That gives us a competitive advantage."

According to the NWF, additional money in the federal budget for sewage infrastructure will push the total for Great Lakes restoration to more than $1 billion.

Tony Bruscato, Public News Service - MI