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EPA seeks input on Great Lakes cleanup (10:53 a.m. 7/17/09)

Traverse City, Mich. (AP) — Federal officials are preparing for a series of public meetings to discuss President Barack Obama’s initiative to restore the Great Lakes, an ecosystem battered by invasive species, toxic pollution and other problems.

Beginning Tuesday in Milwaukee, the Environmental Protection Agency will describe the initiative and take public comment in eight cities across the region.

Obama requested $475 million in his 2010 budget for the lakes project. A bill to provide all the money has cleared the House, while the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $400 million.

Among its goals: cleaning up contaminated river bottoms, restoring wildlife habitat, preventing runoff and erosion, and preventing more exotic invasive species from entering the ecosystems.

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