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Group: Sewer upgrade cuts would hurt Great Lakes

AP Environmental Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Federal money for sewage system improvements in the Great Lakes region would drop about $110 million next year under President Barack Obama’s proposed budget.

The spending plan released this week seeks a 20 percent reduction in low-interest loans for communities to upgrade sewer infrastructure. The Great Lakes region gets roughly one-third of that money under a fixed formula.

That means the eight states in the region would get about $427 million next year, down from $533 million in the 2012 budget.

Jeff Skelding is director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which represents more than 100 environmental and conservation groups. He said Wednesday they’re disappointed with the proposed cut and will lobby Congress to reject it.

Sewage overflows after heavy rainfall often force Great Lakes beach closures.

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