Our Great Lakes firebrand Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.) introduced a bill that could be the biggest, best thing to happen to the Great Lakes since, well, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Last week, in conjunction with the US Senate, Rep. Ehlers brought the Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act of 2010 to the US House. The Act rolls all the major restoration programs into one and would allow the fight against invasive species, the clean up of toxic hot spots and other restoration priorities to be funded once every five years instead of on an annual basis.
In the past, our Great Lakes lawmakers would annually introduce the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act, a legislative translation of the strategy for restoration developed by regional stakeholders in 2005. This new bill is a more streamlined approach combining programs already approved by Congress, such as the Great Lakes Legacy Act, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Great Lakes National Program Office at the EPA. Cosponsors in the House include Rep. John Dingell (Mich.), Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY) and Rep. Mark Kirk (Ill.). But we need every Great Lakes House Member to cosponsor this landmark legislation.
Those that cosponsored the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act of years past should surely be supporting this new legislation. We hope to see all their names on the bill in the coming weeks and those include: Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2], Rep Bean, Melissa L. [IL-8], Rep Camp, Dave [MI-4], Rep Carson, Julia [IN-7], Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14], Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7], Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5], Rep Foster, Bill [IL-14], Rep Gillmor, Paul E. [OH-5], Rep Higgins, Brian [NY-27], Rep Hoekstra, Peter [MI-2], Rep Israel, Steve [NY-2], Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2], Rep Kagen, Steve [WI-8], Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9], Rep Kildee, Dale E. [MI-5], Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. [MI-13], Rep Kind, Ron [WI-3], Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10], Rep LaTourette, Steven C. [OH-14], Rep Levin, Sander M. [MI-12], Rep Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3], Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14], Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4], Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. [MI-11],
Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10], Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4], Rep Payne, Donald M. [NJ-10], Rep Petri, Thomas E. [WI-6], Rep Rogers, Mike J. [MI-8], Rep Ryan, Paul [WI-1], Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17], Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9], Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr. [WI-5], Rep Sestak, Joe [PA-7], Rep Stupak, Bart [MI-1], Rep Sutton, Betty [OH-13] and Rep Upton, Fred [MI-6].
If you see your Representative on this list shoot them an email or give them a call and tell them to cosponsor GLEPA. This bill will help us really roll up our sleeves and get the restoration work done on the ground without worrying about running back to Congress every year for funding that may or may not be available.