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EPA director: What's in Obama's budget for the Great Lakes?
Gina McCarthy acknowledges it's a tough budget but celebrates Great Lakes victories

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M.L. Schultze
Lake Erie beach bluffs
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Correction: This story originally gave an incorrect surname for the EPA administrator on second reference.

The proposed budget President Obama released this week cuts $25 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and another $430 million from a revolving loan fund to help communities upgrade their sewer systems. Still, Great Lakes environmentalists saw reasons to applaud EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at a meeting in Washington today.

LISTEN: The Great Lakes and Obama's budget

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The EPA’s McCarthy was the featured speaker at a meeting of what’s called Great Lakes Days, and she began by acknowledging the budget is a disappointment for some. But she also maintained it’s the best that can be done in tough economic and political times, and that it promotes efforts such the fight against invasive species and controlling farm runoff and toxic algae blooms.

She also pointed to other programs that have benefited the lakes, including a clamp-down on mercury emissions from power plants and other sources.

“It is lowering significantly the amount of mercury that is being deposited in in the Great Lakes and other rivers and streams and water bodies across the U.S. (Applause) It does deserve a hand. …. I’ve have been following some of the research around this and we have found that the water bodies rebound, hat their mercury levels go significantly lower in a much shorter period of time than we ever would have realized.”

Davis also said the EPA has designated 100 communities nationwide to come up with green alternatives to aging sewer systems that dump into rivers and Lakes.

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