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House bill includes funding to help Lake Erie

By Tom Jackson • Jul 2, 2019 at 11:00 AM

The U.S. House approved a big new spending package that includes important funding for Lake Erie, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur said.

The new spending bill — an omnibus bill that contains funding for many agencies — includes money to deal with algal blooms, clean water projects and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Kaptur said.

H.R. 3055 is a $383.3 billion spending bill that combines five appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2020, which begins Oct. 1 this year.

The Democratic Party controls the House, while the Senate, where the measure awaits action, has a Republican majority. Kaptur, however, is optimistic that the environmental spending that benefits Lake Erie will be preserved, said Kaptur’s spokesman, Griffin Anderson.

Kaptur said the bill includes these provisions helpful to communities along Lake Erie, including:

• $22 million to the National Centers for Coastal Oceans Science for harmful algal blooms research. Kaptur amended the bill on the House floor to add $2 million. 

• $9.52 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, $3.42 billion more than President Donald Trump requested.

• $3.11 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, $1.13 billion more than Trump requested.

• $320 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which Trump repeatedly tried to eliminate.

The president sought to get rid of most of the funding for the first three years of his administration. Early this year, the Trump administration proposed cutting the program to $30 million, a 90 percent reduction.

In late March, however, during a speech in Grand Rapids, Mich., the president reversed his position and said he supported $300 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“I support the Great Lakes. Always have. They are beautiful,” Trump said.

Sandusky projects funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are $125,000 that turned the Jackson Street parking lot downtown into a “green” permeable lot to reduce runoff; $430,000 for a project by the city and the state to draw up plans to restore Sandusky Bay wetlands and $175,000 to renovate Lions Park.

The DeWine administration has promised Sandusky will receive funding from the new H2Ohio fund to complete the Sandusky wetlands project.

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