Great Lakes funding cuts are too large

Despite often being a disliked federal agency, much of what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does is necessary. The agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative falls into that category.

Many Ohioans are well aware of problems in the lakes, especially Lake Erie. Toxic algae and invasive species including the Asian carp are serious, growing threats to water quality and the lakes’ environmental stability.

For several years, the EPA has been battling such concerns through direct federal action and funding of state initiatives. According to one report, Ohio has received more than $200 million for the purpose since 2011.

But President Donald Trump — justifiably concerned about the EPA’s overreach in authority on matters such as carbon emissions — wants to slash the agency’s funding. He would reduce funding for the Great Lakes initiative, now set at about $300 million a year, to just $10 million.

That simply is not enough.

Every EPA project and program should be examined to ensure it is necessary, based on science — and constitutional. That includes the GLRI. If some of its initiatives are not proper, they should be suspended.

But crippling the campaign entirely would not be wise. With encouragement from Ohio members of Congress, Trump should rethink his plan so the Great Lakes are not permitted to become a giant cesspool.