Trump may have campaigned on having Mexico pay for his absurd wall idea, but now he’s proposing $18 billion in immediate budget cuts to domestic programs to pay for it. One of the cuts is a blow to Great Lakes cleanup efforts to the tune of $50M. So in other words, Trump is willing to pollute the water supply to prop up his monstrous ego.
Yes, this is happening even though last year we all witnessed what happened when the water became contaminated in Flint, Michigan. Today Michigan will pay $87 million to replace Flint’s water lines. Tomorrow, they will have to worry about the Great Lakes.
For people who realize that human beings can find ways around walls, the cuts will all appear totally misguided, if not downright cruel and sociopathic, but here are some of the programs that may suffer cuts anyway:
- $1.2 billion in National Institutes of Health research grants
- Sorry Trump voters: Rural Business and Cooperative Grant Programs (RBS) -offers programs to support business development and job training opportunities for rural residents. -49M from 2017 Continuing Resolution
- Food for Peace, Title II Food Aid Grants – Emergency assistance to developing countries, the main avenue for U.S. food assistance. -363M from 2017 CR
- Funds to combat “the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak” under the category of Animal and Plant Health -50M from 2017 CR
- Funds to combat crop pests, tree and wood pests, and wildlife services -50M from 2017 CR
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (known as WIC) -200M from 2017 CR
- Grant funding for research in areas ranging from biology, computer, information science, and engineering -350M from 2017 CR
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (clean energy like solar) -516M from 2017 CR
- Fossil Energy Research and Development: Funds research into reducing greenhouse gasses, emissions like carbon dioxide (CO2) that would curb climate change, funds “advanced coal power systems,” (so much for the mystical and non-existent ‘clean coal’ Trump says he likes so much) -341M from 2017 CR
Here’s where we get to the part about the Great Lakes:
- Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) -50M from 2017 CR
- Sea Grant program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -30M from 2017 CR
The Great Lakes, Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, containing one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water supply and nine-tenths of the U.S. water supply.
So let’s pollute that to build a freaking wall, shall we?
The proposed cuts would affect the Michigan Sea Grant, part of the National Sea Grant College Program. They promote better understanding, conservation and use of Michigan’s coastal resources using science-based decisions.
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has been fighting to protect the Great Lakes since published reports earlier this month indicated the White House would slash spending on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 97%, from $300 million to $10 million for next year. So the cuts for this year’s budget are a cold slap in the face.
Republican Congressman Paul Mitchell also opposes any cuts, saying the “program is critical to preserving our beautiful Great Lakes.”
“The resources from the Great Lakes Initiative are what we use to stop Asian Carp. So this is very serious,” says Stabenow, who also noted the potential impact on Michigan’s $16 billion boating industry, $7 billion fishing industry and tourism in general.
“As if zeroing out funding for the Great Lakes next year wasn’t enough, now POTUS wants to cut THIS year’s by $50mil!,” said Senator Stabenow on Twitter.
As if zeroing out funding for the Great Lakes next year wasn’t enough, now POTUS wants to cut THIS year's by $50mil! https://t.co/dGaLHEhVNt
— Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) March 29, 2017
— Michigan Democrats (@MichiganDems) March 3, 2017
In related bad news for our environment and waterways:
Last month, 51 Republicans and 4 Democrats voted to voted to reverse the Stream Protection Rule, environmental regulations that protected streams from the wastes of coal mining. Trump signed the measure to cancel the Rule.
The only Democrats to vote Yea were Donnelly (D-IN), Heitkamp (D-ND), Manchin (D-WV), and McCaskill (D-MO). Representative Bill Johnson (R-OH) sponsored the move to reverse stream protection and said the Obama administration rule “was an effort to regulate the coal mining industry right out of business.” Republicans also repealed an energy industry anti-corruption regulation using an obscure provision called the Congressional Review Act.
CNBC reported that the Congressional Research Service found the rule would have created as many jobs as it cost. Trump called it a “terrible job-killing rule,” and the mining industry had portrayed it as a job-killer as well.