Flanked by state and city officials, Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson announced the President’s picks for the first round of Great Lakes Restoration Inatiative funding. President Barack Obama is the first US President to attach a budget line to the restoration of the lakes and in his first year in office he and the US Congress set aside $475 million to supplement restoration work.
Events were held this morning in Toledo, Ohio and Green Bay, Wisconsin. Healing Our Waters National Campaign Director Jeff Skelding joined Jackson, Sen. Russ Feingold and Rep. Steve Kagan on the dias in Wisconsin to name the first awardees.
“These grants are a long-overdue investment in a place that is home to millions of Americans, billions of dollars in economic activity, and 95 percent of our nation’s fresh surface water. It’s essential that we act today, and set a new standard of care for the next generation,” said Jackson. “President Obama has made protecting the Great Lakes a national priority. EPA is investing in a diverse network of partners to put boots on the ground and boatsin the water to begin this historic Great Lakes restoration effort.”
This day has been a long time in the making and is due to the diligent efforts of the residents and activists in the region who have fought to get the federal government to recognize the great need for restoration and the economic potential such efforts promise to the region.