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Great Lakes Article:

Bush signs law to clean up pollution of Great Lakes basin over five years
The Plain Dealer

Washington- Efforts to clean up pollution at the bottom of the Great Lakes basin will get $250 million over five years under legislation President Bush signed into law yesterday.

The grant money would go to local governments, states and American Indian tribes to clean, monitor and prevent contaminated sediment, mainly in rivers flowing into the Great Lakes.

The local partner would be required to match 35 percent of the grant amount.

Research shows contaminated sediment buried in river bottoms has caused tumors and impaired reproduction in fish, caused birth defects in fish-eating birds and mammals and increased cancer risk in people.

Four Ohio rivers - the Cuyahoga, Black, Ashtabula and Maumee, all emptying into Lake Erie - are undergoing cleanup. Dredging, treatment and disposal of contaminated sediment can cost about $50 to $1,800 per cubic yard, with a median cost of $300 to $450 per cubic yard, according to the Council of Great Lakes Industries.

"This goes back 20 to 30 years ago when chemicals were simply dumped in the river, and no one thought much about it," said Rep. Vernon Ehlers, a Michigan Republican who is the bill's House sponsor.

"The stuff is very slowly leaking out of the sediments and into the rivers and into the lakes."

Ohio Republican Mike DeWine and Michigan Democrat Carl Levin sponsored the Senate bill, which passed last month.

The federal money, now authorized in $50 million per-year installments, must still be drawn from the treasury through a separate spending bill.

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