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Great Lakes Not Forgotten in Budget Deal

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April 15, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes were not forgotten in the budget deal reached on Capitol Hill. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is set to receive about $300 million as part of the compromise reached on Thursday between the White House and Congressional leaders.

Jeff Skelding, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition, says Ohio and Lake Erie will benefit almost immediately.

"Some of those funds will go to northwest Ohio, hopefully to address some of the nutrient problems that we're seeing up in the western side of Lake Erie, causing these really horrific algae blooms when the weather starts to heat up."

Skelding calls the funding a significant achievement and a testament to the work that's already been done to protect drinking water, create jobs and safeguard public health. Programs under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative work to clean up toxins, improve water quality, combat invasive species and restore wetlands in the region.

Moving forward, he says the goal is to ensure the money is spent wisely to get the results needed to restore the Great Lakes.

"Every dime of this money has to be spent in the best way, so we can continue to get the program funded every year. We need this program to be a long-term funding source for cleaning up the Lakes."

If funding is not maintained, he adds, the restoration effort will only become more difficult and more expensive in the future.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH