© 2023 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

EPA's Pruitt praises Great Lakes restoration program

Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA
Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA

The EPA has released its annual report highlighting work under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative -- and environmentalists might be surprised by the high praise from Scott Pruitt.

Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA
Credit AP
Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA

In a statement accompanying the report, Pruitt, who leads the EPA, said the initiative "is protecting public health in the Great Lakes more than any other coordinated interagency effort in U.S. history."

Those words come just five months after President Trump proposed eliminating the $300 million program from the federal budget. And they follow Pruitt's own moves to pull back on EPA programs and spending.

Still, the restoration initiative, which funds a wide range of environmental programs, is likely to survive thanks to strong bipartisan support across the region. Congress is moving to maintain full funding in the 2018 federal budget.

In his message, Pruitt says the initiative's investments -- "approximately $2.3 billion supporting more than 3,500 projects -- are making a tremendous difference from Isle Royale National Park to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and points in between."

Pruitt's message -- and the 34-page report -- note success in cleaning contaminated land, reducing nutrient runoff and keeping the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

But environmentalists question whether Pruitt -- who battled the EPA as Oklahoma attorney general -- and  the Trump administration will aggressively pursue those issues.

They have noted that the EPA is cutting millions from its Superfund program. Some have called for strict agricultural regulations to limit runoff that triggers toxic algae blooms in western Lake Erie and other parts of the Great Lakes.

And they have criticized the administration for delaying the release of a plan to combat the Asian Carp. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the plan on Monday; it calls for a $275 million project to keep the invasive species out of Lake Michigan.

Copyright 2017 Great Lakes Today

Dave Rosenthal
Dave Rosenthal is Managing Editor of Great Lakes Today, a collaboration of public media stations that is led by WBFO, ideastream in Cleveland in WXXI in Rochester, and includes other stations in the region.
Related Content