WSW: Proposed Budget Cuts For Great Lakes Concerning, But Watch Regulations And Enforcement
President Trump’s most recent budget proposal includes big cuts to Great Lakes programs. But Gary Wilson, Contributor to Detroit Public Television’s Great Lakes Bureau says the money is one issue, he says environmental advocates are really worried about regulations and how they are enforced.
Wilson says the President’s budget proposal should not be a surprise. He says Trump was clear during the campaign that he planned to cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency. Wilson says the appointment of Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator was an early sign that the President wanted to “turn that agency upside down.”
Wilson says advocates for Great Lakes programs have reason to be cautiously optimistic. He says sources working on the issue have told him that they believe that most or all of the budget cuts for the Great Lakes will be in final budget.
The Great Lakes is not the only place where the budget axe could fall. Wilson says the proposed spending plan also includes proposed cuts for other great waterways like Puget Sound and San Francisco Bay. Wilson says the Great Lakes is biggest slice of the money at 300-million dollars. But he says there is some work being done between members of Congress in those regions to work on making sure those programs are funded.
Even if all of that money is restored, Wilson says there’s a clear move to roll back regulations. And he says even if they aren’t rolled back, regulations may not be aggressively enforced. Wilson says while most of the funding is for programs to restore and clean up pollution, regulations prevent pollution in the first place.