Great Lakes Communities To Fight Trump Cuts

U.S. President Donald Trump is eliminating the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as part of his administration's $1.1-trillion budget, but don't expect it to be a rubber stamped item.

Those with the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, including members in Windsor-Essex, are readying to fight the cuts.

The proposed budget initially would have seen the budget slashed by 97% to about $10-million but on Thursday the Trump administration revealed the program was being defunded completely.

The budget also includes a 32% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency's annual funding.

Executive Director of the Cities Initiative David Ullrich told AM800 News he met with 10 congressmen in Washington, from both major parties, who backed the fight to get the program its funding.

He says the Great Lakes Restoration program is responsible for over $2-billion of clean-up work and other initiatives over the last seven years. "Stopping the Asian carp, managing nutrient runoff, restoring wetlands for the hunters and fisherman — all that would grind to a halt under this proposed budget."

Ullrich says the Trump administration is arguing state and local governments should be picking up the costs of environmental protection -- but thinks it's more likely a lack of understanding. "They just don't get it. I certainly hope after the next three or four months they will get how important it is and how important these investments and continued vigilance by the U.S. and Canada is to this entire effort."

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative represents 128 cities in both the U.S. and Canada including communities in Windsor-Essex.

Both Tecumseh and Leamington Mayors Gary McNamara and John Paterson have voiced their dismay and concerns regarding the cuts.