In the Obama Administration’s proposed 2010 budget, it’s $475 million in new money in the first year for Great Lakes restoration. The five lakes hold about 6 quadrillion gallons of water and provide drinking water for 40 million North Americans but are afflicted with aquatic invasive species, habitat destruction, lingering and new chemicals, and animal and human waste.
Long sought by the region’s advocates, the money would be divided up in more than 100 separate initiatives among federal agencies. The U.S. EPA is on the road with public meetings taking comments on the plan. A meeting in Milwaukee Tuesday night was the first; the final meeting takes place August 4 in Duluth. Citizens can also comment on line.
The Great Lakes restoration campaign was born after Congress approved billions in 2000 to restore the Florida Everglades. The feds have also directed considerable funding at Chesapeake Bay cleanup, with at best mixed results after a quarter century.