Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) who heads up the Great Lakes task force appeared before the US House Budget Committee yesterday to urge them to support President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
“I commend President Barack Obama for recognizing the urgent need to restore the Great Lakes and the tremendous economic benefit healthy lakes will bring to communities, businesses and industries. I applaud him for including $475 million to restore the Lakes in his proposed fiscal year 2010 budget,” said Rep. Slaughter before adding, “These federal dollars represent the most serious commitment to Great Lakes restoration ever by a President.”
Slaughter explained to her colleagues that this is an opportunity to create jobs and revive the region’s economy. The Great Lakes chambers of commerce, mayors, governors, industry and non-governmental organizations from the entire region have crossed state borders and put aside parochial concerns to unite behind the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy to restore the lakes.
“Great Lakes restoration is an economic driver and key to the economic recovery of our region and our nation,” Slaughter testified. By supporting the President’s initiative, Slaughter told the committee it would create jobs and bolster communities.
“Restoring the lakes will also put people to work immediately. The recommendation to fix old sewers in the region – $7.65 billion in federal investment – will create at least 265,000 jobs,” she said. The new federal dollars would be a significant down payment toward the multi-year effort to restore the Lakes. She reminded her colleagues – some of whom hail from the Great Lakes states, such as Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH).
“I respectfully request that you include $475 million for Great Lakes restoration and economic recovery,” Slaughter urged.