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Posted: June 15, 2017

Trump EPA head praises Great Lakes program administration plans to eliminate

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2014, file photo, an algae bloom covers Lake Erie near the City of Toledo water intake crib about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. Several environmental groups in Ohio and Michigan are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, saying the agency isn’t doing enough to protect Lake Erie from toxic algae. The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, April 25, 2017, said the EPA needs to step in and take action under the Clean Water Act. Algae blooms in the shallowest of the Great Lakes have fouled drinking water in recent years and are a threat to wildlife and water quality. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)
Washington Bureau
FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2014, file photo, an algae bloom covers Lake Erie near the City of Toledo water intake crib about 2.5 miles off the shore of Curtice, Ohio. Several environmental groups in Ohio and Michigan are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, saying the agency isn’t doing enough to protect Lake Erie from toxic algae. The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, April 25, 2017, said the EPA needs to step in and take action under the Clean Water Act. Algae blooms in the shallowest of the Great Lakes have fouled drinking water in recent years and are a threat to wildlife and water quality. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

By B.J. Bethel

Environmental Protection Agency director Scott Pruitt may not be on board with White House plans to cut programs that directly affect the Great Lakes.

Pruitt defended the program before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, in a report from the Detroit Free Press. Pruitt said cuts to the restoration program may cripple efforts to halt the invasive Asian carp, algae blooms that have become more problematic as agriculture has grown in the state, and efforts to protect drinking water.

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The Trump administration has proposed a 30 percent cut to the agencies budget along with eliminating 3,800 jobs. The budget isn’t expected to pass. 

Congressman Mary Kaptur and David Joyce of Ohio questioned Pruitt on whether there would be room for the program with the cut the administration planned. Both parties have been critical of the budget, which in early planning would cut funding to any geographically centered projects. That would affect funding for the  Great Lakes as well as other areas in Ohio.

Pruitt said he looked forward to working with Congress to make sure the funding remains in the budget for the Great Lakes. Kaptur invited Pruitt for a tour of the lakes. 


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