Great Lakes mayors break with Trump on climate change

Jun 15, 2017
Originally published on June 15, 2017 4:23 pm

Mayors from the Great Lakes region said Thursday that they will continue to fight against climate change -- despite President Trump's withdrawal from an international agreement.

"While the president of the United States has bowed out of the Paris Agreement, we are stepping up as cities to lead the charge against climate change," Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Mayor Paul Dyster said in a statement. He is the new chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

At their annual meeting, the mayors also vowed to push for continued U.S. funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Trump's 2018 budget proposal eliminates $300 million for the initiative, which funds wetlands restoration, pollution cleanup and many other types of projects.  

The president's budget shifts more money to defense, and says continued restoration work should be the responsibility of state and local governments in the Great Lakes region. Congress can modify the budget proposal, and officials from the region say they will push to restore funding. 

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, the outgoing chair of the group, said, "Forty-eight million people depend on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence for their drinking water. We are concerned for the future because such a decision would affect us all, from the port of Montreal to the waterfront restaurant in Windsor to the sport fisherman on Lake Superior."

The mayors also asked the Canadian government a more comprehensive framework for funding restoration efforts.

The group is a coalition of 130 cities from the U.S. and Canada, representing more than 17 million residents.

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