Stay away from religion and politics, right? I try, especially for the heavy issues. But here’s a case that seems pretty one-sided to me.
Last week, it was announced that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding would lose $290 million under the newly proposed national budget. That’s almost a 97% cut, down to just $10 million per year. Being a Michigander, this hits particularly hard, but all Americans should be worried with this new plan.
Look, I understand the Republicans’ mindset. The EPA is not high on their priority list. We need to beef up our military. We need to shrink the ever-growing national debt. The new spending has to come from somewhere. The savings have to come from somewhere.
Please, just not here.
Aside from their natural beauty, ability to generate commerce and recreation opportunities, the Great Lakes offer the United States an enormous freshwater resource in a time when freshwater is becoming more and more difficult to come by (just ask California).
The world is in need of these freshwater resources. Ten percent of the globe does not have access to clean drinking water and according to the World Economic Forum, “The water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society.”
Safe and reliable freshwater sources have always been vital when new cities and communities were formed. Look across a map of the U.S. Those big metropolitan areas were founded along rivers and lakes, at least prior to the far westward expansion and the creation of pipelines. Look at the states that border the Great Lakes. Think it’s coincidence that Indiana and Pennsylvania have a sliver of land touching the water? The shape of the Great Lakes states are of strategic design, allowing all access to the freshwater resource.
But with the world population exploding, an efficient source of clean water is more important today than ever before. (Do I even need to mention Flint?) Why then, when we have a fifth of the world’s freshwater in our very Great Lakes, would we cut funding to maintain their health and preservation?
It just seems a little irresponsible.
Wake up to a Lake Huron sunrise or sip a glass of wine with a Lake Michigan sunset. Take a cruise along the Pictured Rocks shoreline or drive over the mighty Mackinac Bridge.
These lakes mean a whole lot to me, and they should to you as well.