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Trump budget plan targets Great Lakes funding

Elizabeth Miller
Great Lakes Today
Lake Michigan

The Trump administration released details of its 2018 budget plan yesterday. As expected, it eliminates a $300 million program to help the Great Lakes. But that isn’t the only environmental program targeted.

But it should be said first that the 2018 budget probably won’t look like it does today – this is more of a wish list for President Donald Trump. Congress will have the final say, and changes are likely over the next few months.

And lawmakers will have a lot to talk about – in terms of environmental programs, the administration cuts millions from research, development and conservation efforts. Cuts to the Department of Agriculture alone could mean the loss of subsidies for new farming practices – things like cover crops that reduce nutrient runoff into the lakes.

Grants and education programs through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are also eliminated. The Trump administration says the $262 million cut is justified because NOAA grants favor certain areas -- potentially passing over projects with a greater need.

Other programs slated to lose money include state-specific grants from the Environmental Protection Agency and Superfund site cleanups.

Many senators and representatives in the region have already pledged to fight for full funding of the $300 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. But the fate of other Great Lakes programs is unclear.