U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christie Whitman has announced that the President's FY 2004 budget request will include nearly $34 million to improve Great Lakes water quality. Of the nearly $34 million, $15 million will support the Great Lakes Legacy Act and the cleanup of contaminated sediments. This new funding nearly doubles EPA's support of Great Lakes activities.
"The Great Lakes are a treasured resource and the additional support that is part of the President's 2004 budget furthers our efforts to ensure that they are enjoyed by generations to come," Whitman said.
With the $15 million in Great Lakes Legacy Act funding, EPA expects to increase new cleanup starts in the Great Lakes by all partners from three starts to between five and six. Over the past five years, under existing authorities, EPA and partners have remediated 100,000 to 400,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment per year.
Sediment contamination is a significant source of toxic pollutants affecting bottom-dwelling organisms, fish and wildlife in Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Human health can also be impacted via the bioaccumulation of toxic substances through the food chain.
EPA will work with states, tribes and other stakeholders to identify sites for remediation.
In addition to Legacy Act resources, the Great Lakes National Program Office will receive $15.4 million, Lakewide Management Plans will be funded at $2.7 million and invasive species research will be funded at $500,000 for a combined total of $33.6 million to support Great Lakes activities.
For more information about the Great Lakes Program see www.epa.gov/glnpo.