The ranking and minority chair’s of the US Senate Budget Committee, Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) have replaced the President’s recommended $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative with the full $475 million in the Senate budget resolution which the committee will be considering this week.
Last week, Great Lakes Senators sent a letter to Sens. Conrad and Gregg urging them to fully fund the GLRI at FY2010 levels. President Obama made a commitment to spend $5 billion over the next decade to restore the Great Lakes but lowered funding levels to $300 million for FY2011 for fear the program is having difficulty gearing up and spending the cash. But this year, the EPA had to turn away many worthy applicants. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) are also on the Budget Committee and were instrumental in convincing their colleagues to raise funding levels.
HOW would like to thank Stabenow and Feingold as well as the other Great Lakes Senators that sent the letter to the Chairs urging this action, they are: George Voinoivch (R-OH), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Roland Burris (D-Ill.), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).
The House Budget Committee hasn’t begun its mark up yet, but Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Gwenn Moore (D-Wisc.) are both pressing for full funding as well.