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LATEST NEWS

July 18th 2018

Coalition to EPA: Strong Action Plan Essential to Maintain Progress on Great Lakes Restoration

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (July 18, 2018)—The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is urging the U.S. EPA to continue to engage the public in an effort to put forward a strong, focused action plan to protect and restore the Great Lakes. The agency is holding a public engagement session tonight in Milwaukee to solicit input to help guide the crafting of the EPA’s Great Lakes Action Plan 3, which will set restoration and funding priorities from 2020-2024.

 

“A strong action plan, that truly reflects the public’s input, is essential to maintain progress on Great Lakes restoration,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Federal restoration efforts are producing results, but serious threats remain—underscoring the need for a strong, focused plan and full funding from the White House and Congress to see the plan through.”

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June 19th 2018

Celebrating the 10-Year Anniversary of a Public Compact for the Great Lakes

by Todd Ambs

Ten years ago, then-Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle signed state legislation to implement the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. Seven other Great Lakes states, two Canadian provinces, the U.S. Congress, and then-President George W. Bush all joined with Wisconsin and by the end of 2008 the Great Lakes Compact was a federal law.

The Compact (as it is commonly called), at its most fundamental level, is about how we sustainably manage the most significant surface freshwater resource on the planet—fresh water that more than 42 million people depend on for their drinking water in the United States and Canada. The glaciers had carved out our sense of place with a shovel so deep that you can see the Great Lakes from space, and yet we lacked a system to sustainably manage and protect that resource. More >

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June 1st 2018

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Host Public Engagement Sessions On Great Lakes Restoration

Your input can help improve the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and how the projects, like the one above, are chosen. Photo courtesy of Ducks Unlimited.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a series of public engagement meetings to be held throughout the summer across the region. These meetings are focused around gathering public feedback in developing the next iteration of the Great Lakes Regional Initiative Action Plan – Action Plan III. The Action Plan broadly guides how Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding is prioritized and spent. You can read the current Action Plan here.

We encourage anyone who has worked in any way with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to participate in these meetings – whether as a recipient of a grant, partner on a project, or advocate for funding.

The first meeting is in two weeks, June 13th in Toledo, Ohio, followed by Rochester, N.Y. on June 21. See the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s press release here.

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May 23rd 2018

Washington Update: Farm Bill Stalled and Water Resources Funding Advances

Thanks to past Farm Bill funding, replanted riverbanks absorb pollution before it enters our waterways. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Water Resources Development Act Moves Forward

Today the House Transportation Committee will meet to mark up the latest version of the Water Resources Development Act. The text of the bill, H.R. 8 was released last Friday and can be read here. The bill, much smaller than the Senate bill released earlier in May, is focused only on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It makes small changes to a number of Corps programs.  The House bill does not include any Great Lakes-specific provisions, nor does it include wastewater, drinking water, or stormwater programs, like its Senate counterpart. More information about the bill can be found here on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee’s website.

Farm Bill Stalls

On Friday the U.S. House narrowly voted down the latest version of the Farm Bill, 198-213. The Farm Bill is important in the Great Lakes region because it provides substantial conservation funding that help keep the ecosystem healthy, including the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The bill failed for reasons unrelated to the content of the bill–members of the Freedom Caucus withheld their support until a separate vote was held on immigration–and so this version of Farm Bill is expected to come up for a vote again.

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May 15th 2018

Washington Update: Busy Week for the Great Lakes

The Federal Government plays an important role in working with the states to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Photo credit: David Keith

This week is a busy week in the U.S. Congress, as the House and Senate will be taking up several important matters pertaining to Great Lakes restoration and protection. We’ll be following developments closely.

 

Solid Funding for Great Lakes Priorities; Damaging Policies

Today, Tuesday, May 15, at 5:30 p.m. Eastern, the U.S. House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee is discussing its fiscal year 2019 Interior and Environment Bill. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition supports several elements of the bill:

  • It invests $300 million in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to clean up toxic pollution, fight invasive species, restore habitat and wetlands, and reduce polluted runoff.
  • It invests $2.6 billion in the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which provide low-interest loans to communities to fix, upgrade, and build water infrastructure.

 

The Coalition opposes harmful policy provisions in the bill, namely a provision that eliminates Clean Water Act protections that more than 117 million people – and 30 million people in the Great Lakes region – rely on to protect public drinking water.

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  • 2018 Great Lakes Conference

    We are postponing the Great Lakes conference. It will not take place in Detroit next week on Oct. 17-18. The hotel workers are on strike and the Coalition has decided not to host the conference next week. We are re-scheduling it for some time in the spring of 2019. Learn more here.

  • Impact of President Trump’s Budget

    Cuts to key Great Lakes programs as proposed by President Trump will undermine the progress we've been making to restore the lakes. We will look to our congressional champions to restore funding. Learn more about what's at stake for the Great Lakes under the proposed budget. Click here.  

  • Washington Update: March 19, 2018

    Congress is still working on passing a budget for fiscal year 2018. But the budget process for fiscal year 2019 has now begun with the release of President Trump's proposed budget. Read the latest here.

  • 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.

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