EPA hiring jobless workers for Great Lakes cleanup

Aug 24, 2011

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will spend $6 million to hire unemployed people who can work on Great Lakes cleanup projects.

Congress has appropriated $775 million over the past two years for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a wide-ranging plan to improve the region's environmental health.

Among the priorities are cleaning up toxic pollution, fighting invasive species, improving wildlife habitat and protecting watersheds from contaminated runoff.

Susan Hedman is the EPA's regional administrator in Chicago and says $6 million will go to the employment initiative. Each project it funds must provide jobs for at least 20 people.

Hedman says the initiative is similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Depression-era program that put the unemployed to work.  EPA will choose the projects by the end of September.