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Long-range Great Lakes cleanup plan coming despite funding concerns


WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - The Obama administration is making plans to continue a long-range cleanup program for the Great Lakes – even though funding decisions will still be on a year-to-year basis.

Federal agencies are expected to start working this summer on a new five-year priority list for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Nancy Sutley, who heads the White House Council on Environmental Quality, says officials will carry the program forward to 2019. Its current blueprint only runs through next year.

A task force created by former President George W. Bush came up with a 20 year Great Lakes cleanup plan a decade ago. But Bush never asked Congress to pay for it – and it sat on the shelf until President Obama approved the first funding.

It now gets around $300 million a year for numerous projects to clean up sewage and shorelines, and improve water quality on the Great Lakes.