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September 22nd 2017

Coalition Partners with Milwaukee Community  to Promote Water Infrastructure Investments

Milwaukee residents attend a fair at Alice’s Garden to learn about ways to capture and reuse rain water to help curb flooding, maintain the community garden, and reduce runoff into Lake Michigan. PHOTO / Todd Ambs

Upcoming events in Toledo, Detroit, and Gary, Ind., to highlight local water infrastructure challenges, solutions—and need for ongoing federal investment

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is partnering with local communities around the Great Lakes region to promote federal investments in water infrastructure to protect the health of communities and the Great Lakes themselves. On August 27, the Coalition collaborated with more than two dozen local community groups, environmental organizations, city partners, and regional agencies to promote the adoption of low- and no-cost rainwater reuse methods to Milwaukee’s urban neighborhoods to help city residents reduce localized flooding as well as stormwater pollution in Lake Michigan. More >

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September 8th 2017

Washington Update: Funding Discussions Continue in House and Senate

Debate on an eight-bill funding package continued late into the night as the U.S. House plowed through 68 amendments to the large funding bill.  The House continues debate on the remaining 156 amendments today.  The House won’t wrap up the bill this week because many members want to return to their districts due to Hurricane Irma approaching Florida, which means final passage of the large omnibus bill will roll over until next week.  Last votes this week will be on the continuing resolution, debt deal, and Hurricane Harvey relief package, which the Senate passed Thursday.

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September 7th 2017

Washington Update: House Omnibus Amendments and Debt Ceiling Votes in the Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives has begun pushing through amendments to their omnibus spending bill, including:

  • An amendment to restore funding for EPA’s Environmental Justice Program (Rep. Grijalva)
  • An amendment to increase funding for EPA’s Lake Champlain program (Rep. Welch and Rep. Stefanik)
  • An amendment to increase funding for EPA’s Southern New England program (Rep. Langevin)
  • An amendment to increase funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund by $250 million (Rep. Katko; to increase this takes money from EPA’s Environmental Program Management account, which is where the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative sits)
  • An amendment to strike a rider exempting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from following public comment procedures for repealing the Clean Water Rule (Rep. Beyer)
  • An amendment to prohibit U.S. EPA from using funding to enforce the Chesapeake Bay’s pollution diet (Rep. Goodlatte)

It is worth noting that this effort in the U.S. House is largely symbolic due to the fact that the omnibus exceeds the spending limit imposed on Fiscal Year 2018, and if successfully passed would trigger sequester cuts. These cuts are politically unpalatable in the U.S. Senate.

Today the U.S. Senate voted to extend the Debt Limit while also providing relief funding for Hurricane Harvey victims, a move that keeps the government open through December 8th.

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September 1st 2017

Washington Update: U.S. House likely to consider funding bill next week

The U.S. Congress is set to return to Washington next week following its annual August break to a busy schedule.  With only a dozen legislative days free to work, the House and Senate’s tight schedule leaves little time to vote on a number of big issues, including raising the U.S. debt ceiling and keeping the government open.  The House will likely kick off the fall work period next week by considering a large omnibus funding bill that includes the remaining appropriations bills that weren’t passed this summer.  This includes the bills that fund U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Interior Department agencies, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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August 25th 2017

Rainwater Reuse Fair Helps Johnsons Park Residents Combat Flooding

Looking for relief from the headaches of flooded basements and streets following every heavy rain? Our Think Blue | Think Green Rainwater Reuse Fair provides solutions to these problems and hands-on education. The event will showcase how neighborhood residents can direct rainwater away from their homes to rain barrels, rain gardens, flower and garden beds, and community gardens. Local experts will be available to discuss these solutions, many of which can be done at low- or no-cost to neighborhood residents.

“Milwaukee homeowners can reduce flooding and save money by collecting and reusing rainwater in flower and vegetable gardens,” said Nicole Carver, co-chair of Milwaukee Water Commons’ Green Infrastructure Initiative. “We’ve seen a lot of interest in green infrastructure from local residents, and great organizations like the MMSD Center of Excellence, Groundwork and Reflo will be on hand to show folks how easy and cost-effective it can be to install green solutions in their yards.” Attendees of the fair can expect to learn about the different types of options available, and to access free or low-cost services.

“Nature-based solutions like those featured at the Rainwater Reuse Fair are good for communities, drinking water and the Great Lakes,” added Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “The bottom line is communities around the region need help to fix, repair and modernize their drinking water and waste water infrastructure to keep communities and families safe, and we’re counting on the federal government to make investments in water infrastructure a top priority.”

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  • Washington Update: September 8, 2017

    Congress has turned its attention to fiscal year 2018 and appropriators are beginning to discuss bills in the House and the Senate. So far, many Great Lakes programs have received support, but overall budgets for key agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency are being cut. Read the latest here.

  • Tools for Great Lakes Advocates

      We need your help! Let Members of Congress know how important the Great Lakes are to you: for swimming, for fishing, for our drinking water, and for our way of life. Find tips and tools here for reaching out to Members of Congress and engaging in the conversation.

  • Our Latest Success Story

    Check out our latest success story: Restoring the natural curves and riverbank of the Pike River in Wisconsin has reduced flooding and erosion, while increasing fish and wildlife habitat. Read more here. Click here for a full list of our success stories.

  • 2017 Great Lakes Restoration Conference

    Registration for the 13th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference is now open! We will be in Buffalo, N.Y. October 17-19, 2017. Please visit our Great Lakes Restoration Conference website to register and see what workshops will be held at this year's conference. We hope to see you there!