Waves of Worry: Great Lakes budget cuts and pollution
LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - From big business to big budget cuts, some lawmakers say the Great Lakes are under attack with deep cuts to the EPA and money earmarked for the Great Lakes.
Political Reporter Nick Minock spoke exclusively to the EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt about why President Donald Trump proposed deep cuts to the Great Lakes.
The suns out and Grand Haven comes alive.
Eileen Chlebana, a Grand Haven business owner, said, “Charter boats pulling in, they are gearing up, seasonal stores are opening up."
Chlebana owns one of those stores.
"Just a great energy here in Grand Haven."
She's from Ireland, and she hopes the Great Lakes tourism industry doesn't run out of luck, because if it does, businesses like hers will suffer.
State Representative Peter Lucido said the Great Lakes are under attack.
He said, "There's things going on, dumped in that water, polluting that water. That water is brown. It's not clean. That water has issues and somebody who sits there and says, ‘it doesn't,’ put your family in that lake and start swimming."
Lucido supports Trump, but not the cuts he proposed to the Great Lakes.
In a White House interview, Pruitt was asked why Trump proposed funding cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiation.
Pruitt said, “I want the interviewers to know, and we talked in Congress during the confirmation process. We want to make sure we are prioritizing our funding as an agency to partner with states to really empower those at the local level to really achieve good water quality and air quality.”
U.S. Senator Gary Peters, D-Michigan, is fighting the President's budget cuts.
Peters said, “Based on what we have seen from the Trump administration in terms of the cuts they would like to see, the fact they focused on specific cuts to maintain the integrity of the Great Lakes has me concerned."
Peters' colleagues in Congress halted the President's cuts to the Great Lakes, at least for now.
Lucido believes that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality should be a concern.
He said, "I have no respect for agencies that don't protect us. No respect."
He said some Michigan DEQ workers should be in jail and points to contamination of several inland lakes that have closed beaches.
He said, "We have E Coli levels that are unacceptable for humans."
The Michigan DEQ and other state agencies are meeting in Southeast Michigan to discuss why several lakes in Michigan are contaminated.
Chlebana and others hope state and federal government don't jeopardize the water in Michigan.
She said, "Because it is so important to Michigan and Michigan's economy."