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Obama proposes Great Lakes clean-up

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: The Obama administration's announced a Great Lakes czar. The official is expected to oversee a big effort to clean up the world's largest source of freshwater. From the Marketplace Sustainability desk, Sam Eaton reports.


Sam Eaton: Years of toxic chemical spills, wetland destruction and invasive species have taken a toll on the Great Lakes. So much so that restoring and protecting these waters would cost an estimated $20 billion. President Obama has proposed spending about half a billion dollars in 2010 on the clean-up.

Jeff Skelding is with the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. He says that means choosing projects that will yield the highest return.

Jeff Skelding: The challenge is going to be to spend that money wisely and to be able to demonstrate real on the ground success. And if we can do that, I think that the chances of getting this kind of funding every year for the Great Lakes is a possibility.

Skelding says first on the list are projects with easily measurable results. Things like fixing leaky sewage lines and cleaning up toxic sediment. That would create jobs in addition to improving water quality.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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