Local Environmentalists Fight Budget CutsPosted: Updated:
Millions of federal dollars are used to help protect and restore waters across the country, including Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. But soon, most of that money may be washed away.
President Trump's proposed budget calls for cuts to environmental programs, like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Under the proposal, funding for the program would drop from $300 million to $30 million.
"A large share of those funds are distributed to communities and other groups, so there will be less resources that are available to communities to apply for grants to do some of the reasonable and local projects they need to do right here along the eastern shores," said Dave White, New York Sea Grant recreation specialist.
The budget also proposes cutting all funding to the National Sea Grant College Program, which funds university research and outreach education in all of the coastal areas across the United States.
"It would bring an end to the resources that we're able to provide to universities. It would also eliminate the work we've been able to do with a lot of the communities here in the north country," said White.
While the idea of cuts definitely isn't good news, White says it does offer an opportunity to talk more about what these programs bring to the region."
"It's the downside, these cuts may happen, but cuts will happen if you're not able to share what all the excitement is and how great it is on the St. Lawrence River and eastern Lake Ontario and the bays and the harbors," said White.
White says he and other advocates plan to continue fighting for the programs and talking with local representatives in an effort to avoid cuts.