By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 18, 2015

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Members of Congress from both parties are lobbying colleagues not to cut funding from a key Great Lakes environmental program.

Fifty-one representatives sent a letter Monday in support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

More than $1 billion has been spent on the program, which President Barack Obama established in 2009. But he proposed only $250 million for next year, instead of the $300 million it usually gets.

Democratic Reps. Sander Levin of Michigan and Louise Slaughter of New York joined Republican David Joyce of Ohio in circulating the letter to lawmakers from the eight Great Lakes states.

It went to leaders of the House appropriations subcommittee that deals with environmental funding.

The program has restored fish and wildlife habitat, battled invasive species, cleaned toxic hot spots and reduced runoff.

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