Pres. Obama asks $50 million cut in Great Lakes restoration effort

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President Barack Obama

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for 2016 seeks a $50 million cut in a multi-year program to clean up the Great Lakes.

The president’s spending plan released Monday requests $250 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, down from $300 million appropriated for this year.

The program focuses on the lakes’ most serious long-term ecological challenges such as invasive species, toxic pollution, degraded fish and wildlife habitat, and runoff from farms and cities that causes toxic algae blooms.

Obama created the program after taking office in 2009. About $1.9 billion has been spent on about 2,000 projects region-wide.

Todd Ambs of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition says the proposed cut is unacceptable. The president sought a smaller reduction last year, but Congress kept the program at $300 million.