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Politics

Funding threat dominated Great Lakes news in 2017

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Derek Montgomery, MPR News
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Cleanup n the St. Louis River near Duluth, Minn.

This year brought with it a few threats to Great Lakes health -- an above average algae bloom and an Asian carp sighting.  But a financial threat also loomed over the lakes this year.

The year kicked off with a lot of uncertainty – with a new president, it was unclear whether funding dedicated to the Great Lakes would continue.

And by May, the Trump administration made its message clear by zeroing out the $300 million used for cleaning up pollution, restoring wetlands and other projects.  His budget also cut funds for research and conservation in other agencies.

So – what happened?

“The good news is that all of those suggested cuts were basically ignored by Congress,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition. “Turns out there’s still broad, bi-partisan support for the most significant surface freshwater resource on the planet, our Great Lakes.”

But Ambs says the threat to Great Lakes funding remains.  The administration is still looking to make cuts in agencies like the EPA and the Fish and Wildlife Service.