I’ve talked about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative here before, but that was in the context of Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is a close friend of Rupert Murdoch, by the way. I’m troubled by that relationship. I’m concerned. I would even go so far as to say that Kasich’s passionate defense of Murdoch in major media raises more questions than it answers.
In any event, the Great Lakes Restoration project continues, despite Rupert Murdoch and John Kasich:
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. A task force of 11 federal agencies developed a plan to put the president’s historic initiative into action. This action plan covers fiscal years 2010 through 2014 and addresses five urgent focus areas:
Cleaning up toxics and areas of concern
Combating invasive species
Promoting nearshore health by protecting watersheds from polluted run-off
Restoring wetlands and other habitats
Working with partners on outreach.
Which is good, because we have some issues with Lake Erie:
A huge bloom of potentially toxic microcystis algae, which has reared its ugly head almost annually since 1995 after more than a 20-year absence, has been visible from space since at least July 22. European Space Agency satellite photos given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor show how it formed in the Monroe area, grew, and has fanned out to the Lake Erie islands.
This problem has gone unaddressed since 1995, so it’s going to be a long haul.
The algae, though, wouldn’t be there if not for the region’s ongoing battle with controlling both storm water and agricultural runoff. It is likely to be a topic of discussion when President Obama’s chief adviser on Great Lakes issues, Cameron Davis, visits the University of Toledo’s Lake Erie Center in Oregon tomorrow with U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) and UT President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, according to an aide for Miss Kaptur.
Mr. Davis is to unveil the latest round of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants, a program that has brought the Great Lakes region a historic amount of new money to combat pollution. Although its anticipated funding of about $300 million is down significantly from its first-year allocation of $475 million, the program is in response to Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge to infuse the Great Lakes region with at least $5 billion for cleanup during his administration. More than $20 billion worth of needs, mostly sewage spills that helped algae grow, have been identified.
I went to a Great Lakes water forum in 2005 or thereabouts and Marcy Kaptur was a speaker at that one, too. She’s genuinely knowledgeable on water issues. I learned a lot.
During the Q and A session a 9-11 Truther stood up and delivered a screed poorly disguised as a question. Kaptur responded with her concerns about our dependence on foreign oil, her fuel efficiency agenda for the US auto industry, and a completely irrelevant anecdote about her brother, who is a machinist. She then tipped her head, smiled, and said, “I hope that answers your question”. She’s a pro.