Great Lakes from space

(Picture courtesy of NASA on flickr.com.)

Another event in the ongoing saga that is that Big Lie about government not creating jobs is happening in the Great Lakes.   Begun in 2009 when there still was a somewhat functional congress, the Great Lakes Restoration Investment is putting taxpayer money to work.   For a change, that will be to benefit actual taxpayers.

In the Great Lakes area, the jobs will be created to work for ecological renewal, infrastructure and research that put back together one of the country’s most important resources.

As part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will spend $6 million to hire unemployed people to work on a variety of projects related to cleaning up the Great Lakes. While the jobs program will be on a much smaller scale than the CCC, it will help address both the issue of unemployment and environmental improvement.

The $6 million available from the EPA is specified for projects that both restore the lakes and provide jobs for at least 20 out-of-work people. The EPA will announce its selection of projects by the end of next month.

Up to $1 million is available for any one project, but it must provide immediate benefit to the environment and be done in an area that has been identified as a federal priority, such as pollution sites or national lakeshores.

The work to be done is vital, and will recreate an environment rapidly being lost.   The invasive species and loss of waterfront areas to polluting and destructive forces is important for the population, tourism and simple enjoyment of the land we need to protect.

Funded projects will advance the goals and objectives of the GLRI Action Plan, which EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson released in cooperation with 15 other participating agencies and several Great Lakes governors in February 2010.

The Great Lakes provide 20 million Americans with drinking water and underpin a multi-billion dollar economy.  In February 2009, President Obama proposed the GLRI, the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades.

The Action Plan, which covers FY 2010 through 2014, was developed by a task force of 16 federal departments and agencies to implement the president’s historic initiative.  It calls for aggressive efforts to address five urgent priority ‘Focus Areas’:

Cleaning up toxics and toxic hot spot areas of concern
• Combating invasive species
• Promoting near-shore health by protecting watersheds from polluted run-off
• Restoring wetlands and other habitats
• Tracking progress, education and working with strategic partners

If you fell over in a faint, you’ve been taking much too seriously that yapping campaign crowd that likes to refer to the ‘failed stimulus’ and thought that saying it is so makes it so, which your momma should have told you just isn’t so.   While the grindingly slow process of working an initiative through the congress, funding it and getting the agencies at state and local levels into action seems like stasis, eventually the program the administration has worked long and hard for does arrive.

That big government can take so long that it seems impossible, but what it can accomplish with public service from those elected by the taxpayers is a very good use of the taxes we pay.   That’s what those much maligned govvies are up there in D.C. trying to accomplish, over the many obstacles thrown into their path.