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July 19th 2017

Washington Update: July 18

The House Committee on Appropriations is expected to debate the FY18 funding bill for the Department of the Interior, EPA, and other agencies later on Tuesday.  The bill funds key Great Lakes priorities, including:

  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: $300 million (same as FY2017 enacted, $300 million more than President’s request)
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $1.144 billion ($250 million less than FY2017 enacted, $250 million less than President’s request)
  • Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $863 million (same as FY2017 enacted, same as President’s request)
  • $460,000 for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration program
  • $10.4 million for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Asian carp prevention work in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and Great Lakes ($2 million more than FY2017 enacted)

More >

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July 14th 2017

Weekly News Roundup: GLRI Funding, Line 5, and More

In case you missed this past week in Great Lakes restoration news:

The Detroit News reports the U.S. House of Representatives released an appropriations bill this week that fully funds the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million. President Trump had proposed eliminating the program from his budget proposal.

The News Herald profiled Dan Egan, author of the recent book “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes.” In it, Egan explains his goal of promoting what he calls Great Lakes literacy.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is holding a public hearing on whether to install new support anchors on Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 oil pipeline, according to mLive. The hearing will take place on July 25th in St. Ignace.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the city of Milwaukee has made a bid to sell Lake Michigan water to the city of Waukesha. This would represent the first instance under the 2008 Great Lakes Compact that a community entirely outside the Great Lakes basin would receive access to its water.

The Times Herald reports that the St. Clair River is becoming healthier, thanks to years of concerted cleanup and restoration efforts. Meanwhile, mLive reports on ongoing efforts by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to monitor the St. Clair River’s lake sturgeon population.

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July 12th 2017

House Interior Bill Funds Great Lakes Restoration, Cuts EPA

The U.S House Appropriations Committee yesterday released the fiscal year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which is being considered in subcommittee today. The bill sets funding levels for many core Great Lakes restoration programs.

Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:

“On the one hand, the budget properly rejects many of the cuts contained in the administration’s disastrous budget. Importantly, it restores funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to ensure that the federal government can continue to invest in projects that benefit the more than 30 million people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Great Lakes Congressional delegation for fighting to restore funding so that we can continue to implement projects that are good for our environment and economy. More >

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July 7th 2017

Weekly News Roundup: Great Lakes Funding, Line 5, and More

Happy 4th of July! With all the barbecues and fireworks this week, you may have missed these Great Lakes restoration stories:


mLive reports that nearly 4,000 miles of Lake Huron shoreline may lose protection following an executive order signed by President Trump. The aim of the executive order is to explore opportunities for offshore oil and gas drilling, despite the fact that the entire Great Lakes have been off-limits to oil and gas drilling since 2005. The window for public comments on these reviews will be open for the first few weeks of July.


Advocates rallied in support of Great Lakes restoration funding in over 60 cities on Monday, reports Wisconsin Public Radio. The coordinated events were part of the “All Hands On Deck” efforts to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which President Trump has proposed to eliminate.


mLive summarizes the findings of a report from the state of Michigan on Enbridge Energy’s Line 5. The report examines the safety of the oil pipeline, and explores potential alternatives should the pipeline need to be replaced. Environmental groups have Meanwhile, environmental groups argue that the report underestimates the potential for an oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac, reports the Detroit News.


The Buffalo News reports that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on President Trump to revamp the U.S.’s involvement in the International Joint Commission, an organization responsible for regulating lake levels. The governor issued this call during a trip to Wilson, N.Y., where he signed legislation providing aid to communities impacted by Lake Ontario’s historically high water levels.


The Ohio Senate has passed a bill that would grant the state EPA more power to regulation dredging in Lake Erie and landfills, according to Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign the legislation.

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June 29th 2017

Washington Update: June 29, 2017

House funding panels continue work without budget in place

The House Energy and Water Appropriations panel passed by voice vote yesterday its bill that funds the U.S. Army Corps and other agencies.  The bill does not contain enough detail to know how it funds Great Lakes priorities.  It does contain a rider that would allow the Administration to repeal the Clean Water Rule without following any standard process that requires public comment.  Top Democrats on the panel generally praised the measure while criticizing Republicans for the broader budget uncertainty, as the House GOP conference continues to bicker over a fiscal 2018 budget resolution that would set topline discretionary spending levels for the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.  The House bill in total provides $209 million less than fiscal 2017 funding but $3.65 billion more than what President Trump asked for in his budget request.


The House ag panel yesterday also approved its U.S. Department of Agriculture funding bill, which provides money for Farm Bill conservation programs.  Democrats lamented the $20 billion discretionary allocation, but were relieved that the draft measure rejects most of the Trump administration’s budget request for deep cuts or elimination of programs.


Today, a subcommittee will mark up a bill that funds the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The bill released Wednesday would provide $54 billion, or $2.6 billion less than the enacted level in the 2017 omnibus spending bill for the Justice and Commerce departments and scientific research, among other programs.  The bill provides $4.97 billion for NOAA, $710 million below current spending levels.

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  • Washington Update: July 31, 2017

    Congress has turned its attention to fiscal year 2018 and appropriators are beginning to discuss bills in the House and the Senate. So far, many Great Lakes programs have received support, but overall budgets for key agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency are being cut. Read the latest here.

  • Tools for Great Lakes Advocates

      We need your help! Let Members of Congress know how important the Great Lakes are to you: for swimming, for fishing, for our drinking water, and for our way of life. Find tips and tools here for reaching out to Members of Congress and engaging in the conversation.

  • Our Latest Success Story

    Check out our latest success story: Restoring the natural curves and riverbank of the Pike River in Wisconsin has reduced flooding and erosion, while increasing fish and wildlife habitat. Read more here. Click here for a full list of our success stories.

  • 2017 Great Lakes Restoration Conference

    Registration for the 13th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference is now open! We will be in Buffalo, N.Y. October 17-19, 2017. Please visit our Great Lakes Restoration Conference website to register and see what workshops will be held at this year's conference. We hope to see you there!