On May 22, the Trump administration released its budget proposal for 2018. It does not include any funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The budget proposal was initially submitted to Congress on March 16.
On page 87, the budget files US Environmantal Protection Agency “Geographic Programs” as an elimination, transferring the responsibility for regional environmental clean up onto states and local communities.
The official justification for the budget elimination suggests that “These activities are primarily local efforts and the responsibility for coordinating and funding these efforts generally belongs with States and local partnerships,” and goes on to conclude that “The Geographic Programs, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay Program, have received significant federal funding, coordination, and oversight to date. State and local groups are engaged and capable of taking on management of clean-up and restoration of these water bodies.”
The Detroit Free Press also notes that the national Sea Grant program also gets the axe for 2018. The Michigan Sea Grant, jointly run between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, has conducted Great Lakes research and project facilitation since 1969. Strong Sea Grant programs have also run for many years in both Wisconsin and Minnesota
These cutbacks are accompanied by a proposed 45% reduction in EPA funding for categorical grants to states. States use the funding to enforce regulation of federal environmental laws, like the Clean Air and Clean Water act.
The Detroit Free Press breaks down the budget cuts, percentage wise:
Overall, the EPA faces a 31.4% cut under Trump’s budget plan; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a 16.3% cut; the National Science Foundation a 10.7% cut. The budget eliminates funding for Energy Star energy efficiency programs and several other voluntary partnership programs related to energy and climate change.
It is important to note that the budget proposal is not official until it is passed by Congress. The Free Press notes several Republican and Democratic lawmakers and representatives have spoken out against the proposed measures.