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LATEST NEWS

December 7th 2017

Washington Update: Continuing Resolutions and Year End Negotiations

The federal government could shut down after Friday if the House and Senate don’t act to pass a continuing resolution that funds the government beyond December 8. The current continuing resolution is set to run out Friday and Republicans are interested in passing another continuing resolution that would fund the government through December 22. Several contentious issues remain: changing budget caps to increase defense funding, supporting Children’s Health Insurance Program, and addressing the fate of people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Each of these could derail a compromise on a new continuing resolution, since 218 votes from the House and 60 from the Senate are needed for passage. A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed that most voters are interested in avoiding a shut down of the government, although there are some partisan differences when it comes to what issues should be compromised on in order to avoid a shut down.

Funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund are currently set at FY17 levels. If Congress is able to avoid a shut down this week, a final decision on the full FY18 budget could come before December 22. With so many details to work out, including baseline budget numbers for defense and non-defense discretionary spending, a final budget for FY18 may not come until after the new year.

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November 22nd 2017

Senate Interior Bill Maintains Great Lakes Funding

Bill also cuts agency funding, rolls back Clean Water Act protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 21, 2017)—Today the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Appropriations released its funding bill for the Department of the Interior, EPA, and other related agencies. The bill provides:

  • $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to clean up toxic pollution, reduce farm and urban runoff, control invasive species, and restore fish and wildlife habitat. The bill maintains funding at the same level as last fiscal year, which is $300 million more than the Trump Administration’s budget request.
  • $1.394 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to help communities finance wastewater infrastructure. The bill maintains funding at the same level as last fiscal year, and is the same amount as the Trump Administration’s budget request.
  • $864 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to help communities finance drinking water infrastructure. The bill maintains funding at the same level as last fiscal year, and is the same amount as the Trump Administration’s budget request.

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October 26th 2017

Updated Action Alert: U.S. House Circulates Sign On Letter Urging Administration to Fund Great Lakes in FY19

Updated alert! The deadline for this sign on letter has been extended to Thursday, November 2. 

While Congress continues to debate funding levels for the current fiscal year, the federal agencies have already proposed next year’s budget to the Office of Management and Budget, the White House office that puts together the President’s budget request each year. Representatives David Joyce (R-Ohio), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) are circulating a dear-colleague letter to the Office of Management and Budget in support of funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million in the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget request – we’re hoping Coalition members can make calls this week to your Representative and urge them to sign on to this letter.

Read the letter here. This letter reminds the White House that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is producing results.  The more Representatives that sign on also helps remind the President’s budget director that this program has strong, bipartisan support in Congress. The letter will close on Halloween, October 31.

Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) originated the letter. Current Sign Ons include Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Richard Nolan (D-Minn.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Dave Trott (R-Mich.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), James Renacci (R-Ohio), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) John Katko (R-N.Y.), and Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.).

You may contact your Member of Congress via the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

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October 23rd 2017

U.S. Senators Ask Office of Management and Budget to Fund GLRI at $300 Million in FY19

Thirteen Great Lakes Senators sent a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget yesterday asking it to support $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in next year’s presidential budget request.  As the letter points out: “The GLRI enjoys bipartisan and bicameral support in Congress….The momentum and partnerships of the GLRI program, which are helping to protect and restore the Great Lakes, must be maintained.” Read the text of the letter here.

The letter was circulated by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and included additional sign ons from Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

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October 9th 2017

Great Lakes Advocates to Gather in Buffalo, Urging Feds to Maintain Support for Lakes

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (October 9, 2017)—As the U.S. Congress and Trump Administration debate the fate of core Great Lakes restoration programs, hundreds of advocates for the lakes prepare to gather in Buffalo, N.Y., October 17-19, for the 13th annual Great Lakes restoration conference.

“We hope the conference is a catalyst for continued congressional support for federal Great Lakes restoration efforts,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Republicans and Democrats in Congress have delivered for the Great Lakes before, and we’re asking them to not waiver now—more than 30 million people depend on the lakes for their drinking water. Federal investments are producing results in communities from Buffalo to Duluth, but serious threats remain. Now is not the time to scale back the nation’s commitment to the Great Lakes or problems will get worse and more costly to solve.”

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  • Washington Update: December 7, 2017

    Congress is still working on passing a budget for fiscal year 2018. So far, many Great Lakes programs have received support, but overall budgets for key agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency are being cut and final budget numbers have not been agreed upon. 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!  

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