The pending federal budget will ultimately be a statement of national values. Right now, we have both the responsibility and an opportunity to have a say in the Congressional budget process and final product. I believe that there are potentially dangerous consequences for Door County residents and guests in the budget, as currently proposed.
We are surrounded by water, Great Lakes water. And President Trump is recommending reducing the amount of financial support the federal government gives to Great Lakes restoration efforts, to NOAA, and to the Coast Guard.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a small $300 million initiative which is significant to maintaining the quality of 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. President Trump proposes to turn the responsibility for funding critical water quality programs over to state and local governments. The Great Lakes are too large to see across and along with the St. Lawrence River, are bounded by eight states, two countries, two Canadian provinces and nearly 200 tribal governments. I fail to see how local control is going to manage the environmental quality of such a large and politically and economically diverse area. That is why we have a federal government.
Then there is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the source for all weather-related information you rely on. Do you ever wonder what the weather is going to be? Are you a boater? A person who enjoys sailing or fishing? Maybe you have an orchard, a garden or a farm and your safety or your livelihood are affected by accurate weather forecasts. President Trump proposes to cut NOAA by 17 percent, a reduction which will certainly affect that entity’s ability to keep us safe from extreme weather events and help us plan for our economic future and personal safety.
Regarding safety, President Trump is proposing to reduce funding for the Coast Guard by $1.3 billion at the same time he is putting extra budgetary pressure on the Coast Guard to “protect” Mar-a-Lago when he enjoys his golf weekends. Throughout the Great Lakes and in the waters surrounding Door County, the Coast Guard provides ice breaking and buoy maintenance services along with providing boater safety, rescue and related services.
President Trump is apparently willing to reduce the quality of the water surrounding our peninsula, put boaters, commercial fishermen, as well as farmers at risk with less reliable weather forecasting, and reduce the Coast Guard’s ability to provide helpful marine safety services to recreational and commercial watercraft.
If this sounds like a misguided plan, join the Great March for a Great Lake on May 6 at Martin Park in Sturgeon Bay at 10 am, sponsored by Indivisible Door County. Also, write or call Representative Mike Gallagher, Senator Ron Johnson and Senator Tammy Baldwin and tell them of your concern.
Hope to see you on May 6 at 10 am at Martin Park in Sturgeon Bay.
Sister Bay, Wis.