With shorelines on two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, Wisconsin has a vested interest in keeping the Great Lakes clean. Tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday, a coalition representing business, industry, and environmental organizations will meet with members of Congress to rally support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Trump Administration wants to cut funds to the Initiative by 90 percent. Chris Danou of the Madison-based group Gathering Waters speaks to the importance of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

In total, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has funded more than 35-hundred projects across the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes Congressional delegation has a strong history of supporting the Initiative. Todd Ambs of the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition says there was a strong negative reaction to the Trump Administration’s first proposal to zero out the Initiative, and then this year proposing a 90-percent cut.

The groups will also urge Congress to continue to be supportive of budgets for federal agencies that implement the restoration work. Danou says the Great Lakes are “probably the key to the long-term future of the upper Midwest.” The Great Lakes are the source of drinking water for more than 48 million people and – according to the coalition – directly generate more than one-point-five million jobs.