At the beginning of February, President Obama released his budget for fiscal year 2016, and, once again, programs funding the Great Lakes took a hit. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was cut by $50 million—now $250 million, down from $300 million this year. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a program that provides low interest loans for sewage infrastructure improvements, also was cut. While this move by the administration is disappointing, we are already hearing from members of the Great Lakes congressional delegation that they support restoring GLRI funding, back up to current funding levels—or $300 million.
Several of our Great Lakes champions in congress are now circulating a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking for $300 million for the GLRI, and we’re asking that HOW Coalition members reach out to members of congress and urge them to sign on. You can view the Dear Colleague Letter, which asks for sign-ons. Or look at the letter to House Appropriators on GLRI funding, which asks the appropriations committee to increase GLRI funding to $300 million in 2015.
The current co-signers to the letter are Reps.: David Joyce (R-Ohio), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.), Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Tim Walz (D-Minn), Mike Quigley (D-Ill), John Moolenaar (R-Mich), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill), Chris Collins (R-NY), John Conyers (D-Mich), and Paul Tonko (D-NY).
How You Can Help
You may contact your Member of Congress via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You may also reach out to your Representative via twitter. The deadline for sign ons to this letter is Friday, March 13, 2015. Offices should contact
- Dan Jourdan with Rep. Levin (firstname.lastname@example.org);
- Matt McMurray with Rep. Slaughter (email@example.com); or
- Chris Cooper with Rep. Joyce (firstname.lastname@example.org);
When you call or tweet to your Congressional Representative, here are some talking points to consider:
- The Great Lakes provide drinking water and a way of life for over 30 million people
- The GLRI has enjoyed robust bipartisan support in past years
- The President’s budget cuts GLRI funding and we’d like to see it restored to $300 million
- GLRI projects are already producing results (local success stories can be found here)
- There is still more work to do, and current problems will only get worse and more costly the longer we wait
- There are many on-the-ground projects ready to go that need funding