The U.S. House finished debate on its Interior and Environment funding bill for the next fiscal year on Thursday. The bill contains funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, water infrastructure and other restoration programs at the following levels:
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: $300 million (same as FY18; $270 million higher than President’s request)
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $1.543 billion ($150 million more than President’s request)
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $1.013 billion ($150 million more than President’s request)
- Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study: $200,000 (same as President’s request)
- Electric Barrier: $18.920 million (same as President’s request)
The House bill rejects much of the President’s budget request, opting instead to maintain funding for important Great Lakes programs. The Trump Administration complained to the U.S. House of Representatives that the chamber’s Interior-EPA funding bill supports investments in Great Lakes restoration efforts—and those of other water habitat programs in areas such as the Chesapeake Bay—and rejects cuts proposed by the White House.
Todd Ambs, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“What Great Lake is completely contained within one state? As any school child from the upper Midwest knows, the answer of course is none. I continue to be perplexed by this Administration’s continued insistence that funding for critical work to protect and restore the most significant freshwater resource on the planet should only be handled by ‘state and local entities,’ especially when the lakes are binational and cross many state and Tribal jurisdictional lines. States and local entities are and must remain integral partners in this work but they will never have the resources, nor the legal authority, to address the myriad regional, federal and international issues that impact the Great Lakes.
Fortunately, there continues to be broad support in Congress from Republicans and Democrats who understand that Great Lakes restoration programs are producing results for the environment and economy—and that these programs are essential for the more than 30 million people who depend on the lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. We will continue to work with bipartisan leaders in Congress to support the funding and policy solutions needed to address the serious threats to the Great Lakes and communities across the region, so that we can keep federal restoration efforts on track. Cutting funding now will only make projects harder and more expensive.”