A subcommittee in the Republican-controlled U.S. House is proposing the steepest cut in spending on a far-reaching Great Lakes environmental cleanup program since it was established in 2009.
The panel approved a bill Tuesday that would spend just $60 million on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, nearly 80 percent less than the $285 million in this year's budget.
The program is designed to make progress on some of the region's most longstanding ecological problems, such as invasive species, harbors polluted with toxic sediments, harmful algae blooms and loss of wildlife habitat.
Leaders of groups that support the initiative say the cut would devastate a program that has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress.
The bill also proposes an 80 percent cut in a loan fund for local sewer system upgrades.