Editorial: EPA budget cuts will affect Toledo

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A leaked draft of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 budget proposal indicates that the Trump administration intends to suggest cutting the program from $300 million annually to $10 million. It would be part of an effort to slash $2 billion from the agency and reduce its workforce by 3,000 employees.

Cutting down that far is sure to cause some sort of backlash. But from where? At our own university and in our own community.

The plan is to cut the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that was launched in 2010. This would “essentially stop restoration efforts in their tracks in states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio,” as said by Chad Lord of the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition to Cleveland.com.

The program’s action plan identifies four major focus areas: cleaning up the Great Lakes’ areas of concern, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful/nuisance algal blooms and restoring habitats to protect native species.

This program is helping to research a serious issue that plagues our area. It wasn’t too long ago that Toledo had its very own water crisis. Algae took over our water. Citizens were warned not to drink the water and even to avoid using it all at one point. For several of our editorial staff, arriving in Toledo for our first semester just as the algal bloom affected people was disconcerting.

Money from the initiative supports programs to fight algal blooms that have threatened drinking water in Toledo, protecting marshes along the lakes and cleaning up pollution in rivers that drain into the lakes.

It’s disheartening that people feel unsafe in drinking their own water. Flint, Michigan has been dealing with their own water crisis for over three years. Their situation deals with the contamination of their source of water supply with lead from corrosive pipes. The EPA just gave Flint $100 million for water-crisis recovery.

The EPA is so very important to many in the United States. It’s hard for us to imagine a worse time for the president’s administration to abandon efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. Another algal bloom could happen. Flint is still struggling with obtaining clean water.

There is still so much left to be done, and there is so much we can do to help.

  • There are many protests across the country against the Trump administration’s proposed policies. A March for Science is planned for Toledo. Check out their Facebook page for event details.
  • Find your local district representative and start calling, emailing or even visiting their office.
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Editorial: EPA budget cuts will affect Toledo