The upcoming debate over the so-called fiscal cliff is worrying advocates for the Great Lakes.
Any lack of a federal budget deal by January 1st would trigger an eight-percent cut in almost all federal programs, including key ones for the Great Lakes. Environmentalists say particular harm would be done to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which funds clean-up projects, and a revolving loan fund that helps communities fix old sewers.
Jeff Skelding of the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition says this is not the time to cut successful programs.
"Budgets are about priorities and values," he says.
Skelding says polls show public support for maintaining funds for the Great Lakes. A spokesperson for House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment. The Republican's district includes the Great Lakes cities of Racine and Kenosha.