The Bush administration is scaling back a sweeping, $20 billion plan to clean up and protect the Great Lakes, the largest source of fresh water in the world. The ambitious plan, which the White House has touted for a year, likely will be scrapped in order to fund the rebuilding effort along the Gulf Coast, which is estimated to cost upwards of $200 billion.
Local officials were enthusiastic last year when deliberations began on the restoration plan. Now, although the decision to scale back the plan isn't final, it doesn't look good for the Great Lakes.
With Katrina's staggering price tag, and with Bush's declaration that cleanup from the hurricane won't be paid for by new revenue, the Great Lakes program will certainly not be the last to lose funding. In all likelihood, state and local officials will find themselves fighting for money they thought they already had.