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Upton, EPA Administrator Tour Lake MI to View Erosion, Clean Up Progress

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Holland Sentinel
By Arpan Lobo
June 4, 2020

ST. JOSEPH — On Tuesday, June 2, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, toured Lake Michigan around St. Joseph to view cases of shoreline erosion, pollution clean up progress and more.

“The Great Lakes are certainly a treasure for the American public,” Wheeler said.

He said the administration of President Donald Trump has been working to speed up the permit process for projects along the lakeshore.

Those projects include efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate beach erosion along the Great Lakes.

“When the Army Corps starts a project, such as the beach erosion along the lake, those approvals can get done at a much faster pace and we can get those projects out there in a faster response time,” he said.

“That is something the entire administration has been working on for the past three years.”

Wheeler also said pollution clean initiatives, like the Trash Free Waters Program, are receiving funding to operate in the Great Lakes.

“That’s something that we’ve typically done on the coasts, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and down in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.

“We’re now using some of the money from the trash-free program to clean up the litter that is in the Great Lakes.”

Upton highlighted increases in funding for the Great Lakes, particularly through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The GLRI was renewed through 2024 with increased funding, and funds projects and research on lake cleanup, invasive species prevention and water quality.

Still, Wheeler believes more progress can be made toward cleaning up the Great Lakes.

He detailed working with farmers to prevent nutrients from flowing into the lakes, PFAS prevention and contamination clean up and continuing to remove pollution from the lakes.

“There’s certainly not a shortage of issues that we can work on together,” Wheeler said. “We’ve made some important progress but we have a lot more progress to go.”

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