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Rep. Huizenga reacts to Trump budget, elimination of Great Lakes initiative

Posted at 2:54 PM, Mar 16, 2017

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP/FOX 17) — President Donald Trump wants to eliminate federal support of a program that addresses the Great Lakes’ most pressing environmental threats.

And West Michigan Representative Bill Huizenga (R-Grandville) disagrees with that proposal. Huizenga released this statement Thursday:

“I am pleased to see President Trump present his budget to Congress in a timely manner. While there are serious and necessary reforms that I support in President Trump’s budget proposal, there are also areas where I have significant disagreements with the President. For example, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a critical program that works to preserve the Great Lakes for future generations. The health and vitality of the Great Lakes is instrumental to having a productive Great Lakes economy that creates good-paying jobs and sustained economic growth.

“Ultimately, it is Congress that has the constitutional authority to determine which programs are funded. In an era where federal spending must be prioritized, I believe the GLRI, which has a history of proven results and strong bipartisan support, should continue to be a national priority. As co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, I am planning to have active conversations with both the Administration as well as my colleagues on Capitol Hill about the importance of the GLRI as Congress continues the appropriations process.”

Trump’s 2018 budget released Thursday would remove all funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has received strong support from members of Congress in both parties since President Barack Obama established it in 2009.

The program has pumped more than $2.2 billion into the eight-state region for projects that have removed toxic wastes from industrial harbors, fought invasive species such as Asian carp, restored wildlife habitat and supported efforts to prevent harmful algal blooms.

The initiative has generally received about $300 million a year. Congress voted last year to authorize the program for five more years.
A Trump campaign representative said last fall the Republican nominee supported the program.