Press Release

Clean Water on the Chopping Block: Ohioans Call on Congress to Protect Funding for Clean, Safe Water

David Miller, March 7, 2018

The Trump Administration’s proposed budget drastically cuts vital funds to programs responsible for keeping our water clean, safe, and affordable to drink, and safe to enjoy recreationally.

“The Trump Administration’s budget fails to prioritize funding for water programs vital to reducing toxic algae and protect Ohioans drinking water,” said Kristy Meyer, Vice President of Natural Resources Policy at the Ohio Environmental Council. “We are calling on our Congressional members to ensure Ohioans have safe and affordable drinking water and clean rivers, streams, and lakes to explore with their children now and for future generations.”

While President Trump’s proposed budget essentially keeps level funding for Clean Water grants to states for water infrastructure upgrades and replacements, the budget proposes dramatic cuts to the Department of Agriculture’s rural and wastewater disposal program, which serves as a critical support structure for water infrastructure upgrades and replacements.

“Ohio’s water infrastructure needs total about $27 billion,” said Crystal M.C. Davis, Policy Director at the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “If funding is cut, the financial burden will fall on the backs of Ohio families. The time is now to double down on rebuilding Ohio’s crumbling infrastructure for the future of our economy and quality of life.”

Along with cuts to water infrastructure funding, the president’s budget cuts vital programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Farm Bill conservation programs, which provide funding to protect the rivers and lakes where many Ohioans source their drinking water. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a highly successful program which has restored 2,500 acres of marsh and 600 acres of wetlands in Ohio at Mentor Marsh. These restored marshes and wetlands provide new habitats for fish and wildlife, control flooding, and reduce the amount of polluted runoff that reaches Lake Erie – a $14 billion economic engine and source of drinking water for millions of Ohioans.

The region has made great strides, and now is not the time to stop progress. Therefore, a group of Ohioans representing various organizations such as The Ohio Environmental Council, Cedar Fair, Maumee Brewing Company, Junction Coalition, Myerholtz Farms, WEL Enterprise, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Ohio Conservation Federation, and Western Reserve Land Conservancy are heading to Capitol Hill today to ask our Congressional members to:

  • fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million to restore habitat, clean up toxic pollution, reduce runoff, and fight invasive species;
  • at least double the current investment in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure to provide clean, safe, affordable water to citizens and reduce pollution into lakes and streams;
  • defend core programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies to ensure that federal Great Lakes protection and restoration efforts have solid oversight and implementation;
  • support Farm Bill conservation programs to reduce runoff and harmful algal blooms; and,
  • protect the Great Lakes from invasive species, by supporting action to keep invasive carp out and upholding Clean Water Act protections to keep ballast water invaders out of U.S. waterways.

“It’s important to support the full suite of Great Lakes programs that keep our drinking water safe, support outdoor recreation, and improve Ohio’s economy,” said Mike Shriberg, National Wildlife Federation. “That is why we are heading to Washington today. For every day we wait, the problems become more complex and the solutions more costly.”