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Republican House panel approves 80% in funding for Great Lakes clean up

WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - There would be a lot less federal money to clean up the Great Lakes and local sewage systems, under a bill endorsed Tuesday by a House sub-committee.

The Republican-controlled House panel recommended an 80-percent cut in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – which cleans up toxic harbors, removes algae blooms, and controls invasive species.

Under the bill, only $60-million federal money would be made available for Great Lakes clean-up projects – up from the current year’s spending of $285-million after the federal sequester took effect.

The panel also endorsed an 80-percent cut in a federal loan fund to clean up local sewage systems.

Former President George W. Bush commissioned a study team for the Great Lakes Initiative – but neither he nor his Congresses spent any money on it, and Barack Obama made it a campaign issue when he ran for the White House in 2008.

The Great Lakes program has been funded ever since – over $400-million a year in its heyday.

The initiative’s supporters say the new bill would devastate as program that has won support from both parties.