Restore Funding for Great Lakes
And for the federal EPA. The nation and Wisconsin will benefit.
Whether it’s swimming or boating in the summer, ice fishing in the winter, or simply drinking from our kitchen sink, Wisconsinites depend on clean water. And with 15,000 lakes and 84,000 miles of rivers and coastline on two of the largest Great Lakes, few states have a deeper connection to water than Wisconsin. We know well what we have been blessed with and we have a tradition in our state to protect it for future generations.
The Clean Water Act, a bipartisan law passed 45 years ago this month, safeguards many of our water resources and is essential to maintaining the healthy water all Wisconsinites want and need.
But the Trump Administration has proposed severe funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which plays a vital role in enforcing the Clean Water Act. In Wisconsin, we have seen more and more stressors to our waters from industrial pollutants, agriculture runoff, algae blooms, and invasive species. We must continue to make progress in tackling these challenges and ensuring waters across our state are cleaned up and protected.
When massive budget cuts to the EPA were proposed earlier this year, I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging full funding for the agency. Our precious lakes, streams and wetlands and everyone who depends on them simply cannot afford to have progress stalled. National treasures like the Great Lakes must be protected, and I joined my Senate colleagues in urging the EPA to provide full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
This week, as a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues on a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney calling for $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to be included in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget request.
As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, now is the time to recommit to fully funding the EPA — including the critical programs and initiatives the agency oversees to help protect our water resources.
I will continue my bipartisan work to oppose cuts to the EPA’s budget, and ensure our Great Lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands are protected in Wisconsin, today and tomorrow.
Tammy Baldwin is a Democratic U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.