The US House and Senate have approved the 2010 budget resolutions and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has remained intact! That means that President Barack Obama stayed true to his campaign pledge and has ushered in the first real support from the White House for restoration. And he did it all within the first 100 days of his administration.
The joint budget resolution states:
“It is the sense of the Congress that this resolution recognizes the need to address significant and long-standing problems affecting the major large scale aquatic, estuarine, and coastal ecosystems nationwide. This resolution includes funding for a new interagency initiative to address such regional ecosystems. It also includes funding to work with Great Lakes States, tribes, local communities and organizations to more effectively address issues prioritized in the Great Lakes Regional Collaborative. This initiative could address issues such as invasive species, habitat restoration and conservation, non-point sources of pollution, and contaminated sediment. The resolution also supports the President’s proposal to use outcome-oriented performance goals and measures to target the most significant problem.”
While there was overwhelming support from Democrats in both the House and Senate for this budget, not a single Republican lawmaker voted for the bills. This divide does not bode well for our nation and we can only hope that working together on issues such as Great Lakes Restoration – that crosses political divides – will help mend our differences.
Even before Obama took office, HOW decided to do everything we could to keep the Great Lakes high on his agenda in the first 100 days. Now that we’ve met that goal we are going to continue to fight for the realization of the GL regional collaboration strategy, including approval of a strong national ballast standard; the passage of the Clean Water Restoration Act; tripled funding for the Great Lakes Legacy Act; greater support for the State Revolving Fund to improve and replace our antiquated sewer systems; and the appointment of a Great Lakes Czar to coordinate federal, state and local efforts. Just another 1360 days to get it all done.