Environmental activists say federal programs designed to protect
and clean up the Great Lakes will suffer if Congress and President Obama fail to reach a budget deal soon. Without a deficit reduction agreement, across-the-board spending cuts will kick in on January first. Leaders of advocacy groups say that would mean an 8.2 percent reduction in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a multi-year program dealing with invasive species and toxic pollution. The program received 300 million dollars this year. The cut presumably would reduce it to 275 million in 2013. Joel Brammeier of the Alliance for the Great Lakes says the cuts would damage the environment and the regional economy, including the fishing and tourism industries.