Thanks to the leadership of the late Peter Wege, and the hard work of many Great Lakes advocates over the last 13 years, the federal government has shipped over $2 billion to the cause of Great Lakes restoration.
That money has done extraordinary things for the Great Lakes ecosystem. And now it is threatened by the Trump Administration. A fight to restore the funding makes sense, but there may be bigger threats to the Great Lakes coming from Washington.
Gary Wilson’s piece for Great Lakes Now is a fine piece of journalism. He explores both the good and the not so good that Great Lakes restoration funding has supported. By far, the good outweighs the not so good. But the Great Lakes restoration initiative is no more perfect than any other government program.
As Gary points out, focusing solely on federal funding can blind one to systemic threats resulting from the policies of the administration. These include dogmatic denial of the effects of climate change, increased mercury emissions that could result from reversal of the Obama clean power plan, and attacks on clean water rules.
The point is that the battle will be fought along a broad front. Great Lakes advocates need to think broadly. Taking modest budget cuts, but winning on the climate, mercury and clean water issues would be a net benefit for the Great Lakes. Admittedly, that’s a tall order.