News Bite

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Big On Spending, Light On Restoring

Spent $117,198 in seven years studying the Michigan Monkey Flower

Many politicians, along with mainstream media outlets, often praise a federal grant and spending program called the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, characterizing it as a savior of Michigan’s lakes and rivers.

The initiative is money U.S. Congress authorizes each year, with employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deciding who to give it to. The link between spending the money and saving the Great Lakes is often unclear in many projects.

Typical of the glowing media coverage was a recent story from the MLive news service, which said the handouts put “hundreds of millions of dollars toward Great Lakes cleanups and protection projects.”

Yet hundreds of the grants go to recipients and projects that have little impact on the Great Lakes.

For example, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative spent $117,198 over a seven-year period on efforts to study the Michigan Monkey Flower, a species placed on the federal endangered list in 1990.

The agency approved spending to examine how removing a dam from Lake Kathleen in Emmet county affected the flower.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.