In the end, Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich), George Voinovich (R-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) were joined by Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Karen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) as original cosponsors of the new and improved Great Lakes Legacy Act.
Senators Levin and Voinovich – co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, introduced the reauthorization yesterday. “While we’ve made progress on cleaning up the contaminated sites in the lakes, much work remains. This legislation will bring us closer to our goal of restoration,” Levin stated.
The United States promised Canada in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement that we would clean up our 31 areas of concern (Canada is responsible for the other 12) within a decade. We are five years into that decade and we have cleaned up and delisted one AOC, but the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy recommended increasing the funding to help meet our ten-year goal. This new and improved legislation would increase funding from $50 million-a-year to $150 million and make money available for research into new technologies for sediment cleanup.
“This bill will provide the Environmental Protection Agency with the tools and resources to remove contaminated sediment and cleanup Ohio’s Areas of Concern which include the Maumee, Black, Cuyahoga and Ashtabula Rivers,” Voinovich stated, then added, “The Legacy program is a vital piece of a comprehensive strategy that is absolutely necessary to protect the Great Lakes for generations to come.”
In addition, the GLLA will bring more jobs to our region while restoring the Great Lakes – making the region more attractive to new investment. It is an obvious win win to us, but there are those who oppose the idea and say we don’t have the money to do it – like a certain Senator from Oklahoma. That is why it is essential that ALL the Great Lakes US Senators co-sponsor this bill and push their colleagues to support it.
Yesterday we had a good showing among Great Lakes Lawmakers, but now we need the final seven to sign on as cosponsors of this vulnerable legislation to show that we won’t take no for an answer. This legislation is important to our region’s economy and will create and sustain more jobs. Here are the final Great Lakes Senators that we have to call on to get them to sign on:
Burris Roland (D-Ill.)Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)
Evan Bayh (D-Ind.)
Robert P. Casey (D-PA)
Arlen Specter (D-PA)
Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.)
Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.)