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Photo: International Joint Commission
Photo: International Joint Commission

House committee restores Great Lakes cleanup funding

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A federal program dedicated to environmental restoration and cleanup of the Great Lakes has escaped a massive budget cut.

A committee in the House of Representatives voted to amend a bill that would have slashed the program's funding. The move partially restores the fund to $210 million for fiscal year 2014.

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Reported by

Kate O'Connell
Reporter, The Innovation Trail

The House bill originally aimed to cut 80 percent of the program's budget, from nearly $300 million to just $60 million in 2014.

A House committee has since revised that figure from $60 million to $210 million.

But, a Senate funding bill released Thursday would restore the budget for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to its pre-sequestration level.

Jordan Lubetkin, spokesman for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, says any cuts in funding will only lead to greater costs down the line.

"I think the drastic cuts elicited a huge response from the Great Lakes community. People are really upset and I think lawmakers heard that. And we're pleased that Great Lakes funding has been partially restored, we think that's a step in the right direction, but we are still fighting for the full $300 million."

Lubetkin says they're optimistic that funding will be restored to its original level.

He says strong bipartisan support and pressure from Great Lakes communities have avoided budget cuts to the program in the past.

Reporting by the Innovation Trail is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Visit innovationtrail.org.

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