GRAND HAVEN, MICH. - A group of Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate are putting pressure on the Trump Administration to provide money to protect the Great Lakes.
In President Trump's budget proposal released in May, the White House "zeroed out" funding for the "Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. That Initiative has provided more than two billion dollars in programs to protect the lakes. The Trump budget calls for a 45 percent "cut" to EPA grants.
"Email a member of congress to say 'support funding great lakes protection efforts', social media, Facebook, get your family and your friends to get engaged, we need to be having all hands on deck to communicate the importance of the great lakes and it needs funding to make sure that happens," Senator Debbie Stabenow said.
She hopes communicating at the local level will sway the administration's plan.
"We are doing everything we can to get the bipartisan support from the house and the senate to reject the president's proposal and continuing funding these important efforts that protect our waters," Stabenow said.
But Stabenow believes many people don't know the benefits of the Great Lakes.
"Jobs, fishing boating, tourism, all of it not counting the fact that more than 30 million people get their drinking water from the Great Lakes," the senator said. "We've got to help people who don't come from the Great Lakes that this not a local issue, this is 20 percent of the world's fresh water, it's a major national resource."
People in six other states also took to the shoreline Monday.
"60 cities are joining hands and doing the same thing we're doing, trying to show presence showing love and protection for the water," Great Lakes Water Protector Robin Hendricks said.
The purpose of the citizen-inspired effort is to encourage others to take a stand, especially those who live around the great lakes.
"For us in Michigan, it's our way of life, so we have a very important role to play in protecting our water," Stabenow said.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative got its start in 2010, to protect Great Lakes jobs and fighting against invasive species.
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