For the Chicago Tribune
Has President Donald Trump drifted off-course in Great Lakes politics?
The question comes from the news that Trump plans to slash Great Lakes improvement funding by 97 percent. According to a budget document obtained by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, the president proposes to slash funding for the enormously popular Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to $10 million (from $300 million) next year.
The initiative has poured more than $2 billion into the Great Lakes economy and environment during the last eight years, thanks to extraordinary bipartisan support in an extremely partisan era. The program has funded 3,400 projects targeting everything from the control of invasive Asian carp to the cleanup of heavily polluted hot spots.
Throughout the Great Lakes region, Trump’s sobering budget news was met with blanched reactions of denial, gallows humor and rage. But the more appropriate reaction might be, “Is Trump really going to gore a sacred ox in the electoral region that put him in office?” For full editorial.