Trump seeks $50M Great Lakes cut to help fund wall

Detroit News staff and wire

Washington — President Donald Trump has proposed $18 billion in immediate budget cuts to domestic programs, including $50 million from the Great Lakes cleanup program, to help cover early costs for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The proposal, sent to Capitol Hill this week, would cut $1.2 billion in National Institutes of Health research grants, slash the community development block grant program by half, reduce the $300 million-a-year Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by $50 million and the Sea Grant program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by $30 million.

The plan could affect the Michigan Sea Grant — a cooperative program of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University that focuses on the protection of the Great Lakes and coastal resources.

“After the president zeroed out Great Lakes funding in next year’s budget, it adds insult to injury that his administration is requesting close to a $50 million cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in this year’s budget too,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the Lansing Democrat who co-chairs the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, said in a statement.

“I will continue to work across the aisle to stop cuts to this important initiative that helps protect and restore the Great Lakes.”

The list of options to trim in the ongoing budget year were delivered to Capitol Hill for lawmakers and staffers working on a catch-all spending bill that could include Trump's request for immediate funding to build a security wall along the Southern border.

Trump’s budget plan for next fiscal year, released earlier this month, would eliminate the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and targets the NOAA’s Sea Grant program.