Monday, February 22, 2010

EPA plans to spend $2.2B to protect Great Lakes

The federal government plans to spend $2.2 billion to clean up pollution in the Great Lakes and halt the spread of invasive species over the next five years. That plan, announced Sunday, marks a "significant investment" in fighting some of the biggest environmental threats to the nation's largest freshwater lakes, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said. The EPA will use the money to prevent beach pollution, clean up toxic hot spots, and fight Asian carp and other invasive species. That effort "will leave the Great Lakes better for the next generation than the condition in which we inherited them," Jackson said. Among the EPA's priorities is cleaning up long-polluted sections of the lakes. In the 1980s, the U.S. and Canadian governments identified 31 toxic hot spots on the U.S. side; since then, only one has been fully cleaned up. The EPA now plans to finish work at four others by 2014, though spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the agency hasn't figured out which. The plan also takes a "zero tolerance" approach to invasive species such as Asian carp, which could crowd out native fish and imperil the Great Lakes fishing industry if they reach Lake more

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