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July 21st 2017

Washington Update: July 21, 2017

Senate committee requires Army Corps to release Brandon Road study within 30 days

The Senate Committee on Appropriations accepted an amendment offered by Great Lakes Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) that would require the Army Corps of Engineers to release the Brandon Road Asian carp prevention study to the public within 30 days.  The amendment was made to the FY18 funding bill that funds Army Corps activities. Read the Amendment by Senator Baldwin and Senator Durbin.

In addition, the Senate committee included carp language in the report that accompanied the bill (see page 9). Other language in the report includes a reference on page 18 to studying hydrological separation in the Chicago waterway system.

The committee provided funding for Dispersal Barrier operations at $16.7 million (same as budget request) and GLMRIS/Brandon Road at $1.85 million (same as budget request).

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July 20th 2017

Washington Update: July 20, 2017

House panel passes FY18 Interior-EPA funding bill

Late Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee passed a bill funding the Department of the Interior and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for fiscal year 2018. Overall, the funding levels are 3 percent less that the $32.37 billion for the agencies in the current fiscal year, and 16 percent—or $4.3 billion—above what was included in the White House’s budget request.

As reported earlier, the bill contains funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and flat funds other important EPA programs (such as the Sec. 319 program and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund) while cutting some (like the Clean Water State Revolving Fund).

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July 19th 2017

Washington Update: July 18

The House Committee on Appropriations is expected to debate the FY18 funding bill for the Department of the Interior, EPA, and other agencies later on Tuesday.  The bill funds key Great Lakes priorities, including:

  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: $300 million (same as FY2017 enacted, $300 million more than President’s request)
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $1.144 billion ($250 million less than FY2017 enacted, $250 million less than President’s request)
  • Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $863 million (same as FY2017 enacted, same as President’s request)
  • $460,000 for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration program
  • $10.4 million for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Asian carp prevention work in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and Great Lakes ($2 million more than FY2017 enacted)

More >

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July 14th 2017

Weekly News Roundup: GLRI Funding, Line 5, and More

In case you missed this past week in Great Lakes restoration news:

The Detroit News reports the U.S. House of Representatives released an appropriations bill this week that fully funds the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million. President Trump had proposed eliminating the program from his budget proposal.

The News Herald profiled Dan Egan, author of the recent book “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes.” In it, Egan explains his goal of promoting what he calls Great Lakes literacy.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is holding a public hearing on whether to install new support anchors on Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 oil pipeline, according to mLive. The hearing will take place on July 25th in St. Ignace.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the city of Milwaukee has made a bid to sell Lake Michigan water to the city of Waukesha. This would represent the first instance under the 2008 Great Lakes Compact that a community entirely outside the Great Lakes basin would receive access to its water.

The Times Herald reports that the St. Clair River is becoming healthier, thanks to years of concerted cleanup and restoration efforts. Meanwhile, mLive reports on ongoing efforts by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to monitor the St. Clair River’s lake sturgeon population.

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July 12th 2017

House Interior Bill Funds Great Lakes Restoration, Cuts EPA

The U.S House Appropriations Committee yesterday released the fiscal year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which is being considered in subcommittee today. The bill sets funding levels for many core Great Lakes restoration programs.

Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:

“On the one hand, the budget properly rejects many of the cuts contained in the administration’s disastrous budget. Importantly, it restores funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to ensure that the federal government can continue to invest in projects that benefit the more than 30 million people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Great Lakes Congressional delegation for fighting to restore funding so that we can continue to implement projects that are good for our environment and economy. More >

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  • Washington Update: July 21, 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!