Each year, Save the Dunes recruits and trains local community members and environmental professionals to represent Indiana on Great Lakes Day. This year, nine advocates from Indiana traveled to Washington D.C. to urge members of Congress to maintain federal support to agencies and programs to restore and protect our treasured Lake Michigan.
We are able to do this work as Save the Dunes is an active governing member of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. The primary function of the Coalition is to bring together conservation leaders from Great Lake states to secure federal funding for the lakes to ensure the people of the region have access to clean, affordable, and safe drinking water; can eat fish that are not toxic; and are able to live healthy lives that are not undermined by pollution.
Advocates this year spoke to our representatives regarding the President’s 2021 budget that proposes vast cuts that would lead to the loss of tens of millions of dollars for clean water programs in the Great Lakes. Click here to read more.
Most notably, the proposed budget contains:
- $863 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to help pay for drinking water infrastructure – almost $266 million less;
- $1.12 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to help pay for sewer upgrades and repairs – almost $500 million less;
- Elimination of $171 million for non-point source pollution grants replace with a new $15 million program to combat toxic algal blooms;
- Elimination of the $25 million EPA grant for small and disadvantaged communities;
- An overall 27 percent cut to U.S. EPA budget; and
- $320 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to clean up toxic pollution, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and fight invasive species – the current funding in the budget
Along with over 100 other advocates from neighboring Great Lake states we worked hard to foster bi-partisan support for these critical funding streams. While every Senator and Representative we met made commitments to “do everything in their power to protect the Great Lakes,” it is up to all of us to make sure that our Congressional Leaders follow through on those commitments.