GOP prepares to restore cuts to Great Lakes cleanup

The House Appropriations Interior and Environment subcommittee on Tuesday approved a bill with a 34 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

As part of the bill the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative receives $60 million, down from $285 million.

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Chairman Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said Wednesday he is working on a full committee amendment to reverse it at least in part.

“We cut too much from the Great Lakes region and we’re looking at finding away to add money back in,” Simpson told The Hill. 

Simpson had faced pushback from Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) and had agreed to work with him to restore the cut.

The bill also cuts the Clean Water State Revolving Loan fund and it is not clear if there will be any attempt to restore that.

Local environmental groups had blasted the Great Lakes cuts on Tuesday saying it will reverse years of painstaking work to clean the northern waters.

“Cuts of this magnitude would bring Great Lakes programs to a halt,” said Joel Brammeier, co-chair of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “At a time when communities are facing a staggering backlog of work to keep sewage out of our lakes and rivers, the nation needs to increase — not cut — these investments, which are critical for the environment and economy.”