WXXI AM News

Great Lakes advocates speak out against Trump budget

Mar 14, 2019

The GLRI funds habitat restoration like this cattail remediation project in Braddock Bay, New York.
Credit Veronica Volk / WXXI News

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal includes major cuts to Great Lakes restoration efforts.

The administration's 2020 budget proposal would cut funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by more than 90 percent.

This initiative funds projects from habitat restoration to shoreline improvement programs, and is usually fully funded at $300 million a year. This budget would knock that down to $10 million.

Brian Smith is with the Citizens Campaign for the Environment in Buffalo. He said now is not the time to reduce efforts to restore the health and sustainability of the lakes.

"Not only would this stifle the tremendous progress that we're making on Great Lakes restoration," Smith said, "but it would put at risk the billions of investment we've already made to date."

This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has threatened to make deep cuts to Great Lakes funding. Smith said even though Democrats and Republicans have fought together to protect the lakes in the past, he’s not taking this lightly.

"We are really counting on Congress to once again step up work together and restore full funding to the GLRI," he said.

Not everyone is disappointed by the budget proposal. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is receiving more than $4 billion for its Civil Works projects, a portion of which will go to maintain federal shipping channels and navigation in Buffalo.