Lawmakers introduce bill to renew, expand Great Lakes funding

Bipartisan members of the Michigan congressional delegation recently introduced legislation to reauthorize and expand funding for the Great Lakes. 

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, U.S. Senator Gary Peters, member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga, co-Chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force, U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell, co-Chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force, and U.S. Representatives and members of the House Great Lakes Task Force Dan Kildee (MI-05), Paul Mitchell (MI-10), Fred Upton (MI-06), Andy Levin (MI-09), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), John Moolenaar (MI-04), Jack Bergman (MI-01), and Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) introduced the legislation.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 will reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is set to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2021, for another five years. 

The bill increases the current authorization level from $300 million to $375 million in Fiscal Year 2022 and increases funding by $25 million per year until it reaches $475 million in Fiscal Year 2026.

 “The GLRI is crucial for protecting Michigan’s waters, economy, businesses, and way of life,” said Dingell. “The Michigan Congressional delegation, along with our colleagues in other Great Lakes states, are committed to providing necessary resources to restore wildlife habitats and more funding to combat invasive species and emerging contaminants long-term. We’re united on this one.”

“This Initiative has proven results which is why both Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate are behind this bill,” said Stabenow. “With these positive results and given continued threats to our water, it’s a no-brainer to continue investing in the health of our Great Lakes and waterways.”

“From restoring habitats to combating invasive species, I’ve seen firsthand the impact the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has on our waters, our land, and our communities,” said Peters. “I am proud to support this legislation to protect the Great Lakes, which are an economic driver for the nation and source of drinking water for millions of people.”

“The Great Lakes are a national treasure and represent 90 percent of America’s freshwater. The Great Lakes are big job creators – generating billions of dollars in economic activity and supporting over a million jobs in the tourism, boating and fishing industries,” said Congressman Kildee. “This is why Republicans and Democrats have always come together to protect the health and vitality of the lakes. I’m proud to join this bipartisan group of members in introducing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act to grow our economy and protect the lakes for future generations.” 

“Preserving our Great Lakes is both a moral and a practical obligation. Our Lakes are national treasures critical to our environment, fresh water supply, jobs, commerce, agriculture, transportation, recreation, and so many other essential components of our lives,” said Congressman Levin. “GLRI has received the bipartisan support of Michigan’s congressional delegation because it has proven effective at protecting and restoring the largest fresh surface water system in the world. We need to extend and expand its funding for the sake of Michiganders and all Americans.”

“Those of us who call Michigan home know how central the Great Lakes are to our state’s economic prosperity and way of life,” said Congressman Walberg.“Over the years, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been an invaluable success story, and our bipartisan bill will bolster the program’s reach and cleanup efforts. I am proud to join my colleagues to advocate for the strategic investments necessary to protect the Great Lakes for all to enjoy.”

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is critical to cleaning up the Great Lakes, beaches, and waterways and fighting invasive species like Asian carp. Since 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided more than $762 million for 880 projects across Michigan.

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Vice Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Todd Young (R-IN), Vice Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, and 32 members of the House of Representatives are also co-sponsors of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019.

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