House Subcommittee to Vote Wednesday on Great Lakes Program Funding

Grassy Point wetland in Duluth, Minnesota. Removing wood waste from abandoned factories has helped restore the health of the wetland. Photo from U.S. EPA, taken by P. Collins.

Grassy Point wetland in Duluth, Minnesota has benefited from Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding. Removing wood waste from abandoned factories helped restore the health of the wetland. Photo from U.S. EPA, taken by P. Collins.

The U.S. House Interior and Environment subcommittee has scheduled a markup of its appropriations bill for Wednesday, May 25. The legislation contains proposed funding levels for several core Great Lakes programs. Based on the draft that was released today, the bill contains:

$300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative:

This is $50 million above President’s budget request and the same as current fiscal year 2016 funding. The GLRI invests in programs to clean up toxic pollution to protect the health of people and wildlife; reduce run-off from cities and farms to prevent harmful algal bloom; fight invasive species to protect native species; and restore wildlife habitat and wetlands to protect outdoor recreation opportunities.

 

$1 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund:

That’s $21 million more than President’s budget request, but $394 million less than current fiscal year 2016 funding. The national program provides low-interest loans to communities to fix wastewater infrastructure to protect water quality and to keep beaches open.

$1.07 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund:

This is $50 million more than the President’s budget request and $207 million more than FY2016. The national fund provides low-interest loans to communities to upgrade drinking water infrastructure so that people have access to safe, clean drinking water.

Once the subcommittee has discussed the bill and voted on it, it will go to a full House vote. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition will be putting out a more complete statement once the bill is voted out of committee.

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