UPDATE: The current sign on list now includes Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).
As we’ve written about previously, President Obama’s proposed budget for FY2016 cut funding to Great Lakes programs, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (which helps fund wastewater infrastructure projects). Another program that substantially impacts the Great Lakes region has also received cuts: Farm Bill conservation funding. A letter is currently being circulated by Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) to ask that Senate appropriators restore $800 million in funding to this program that impacts our nation’s waterways, including the Great Lakes. So far, the only Senator from the Great Lakes region to sign on to the letter is Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.).
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 Thursday, March 26, 2015. Offices should contact Sean Babington (email firstname.lastname@example.org) with Sen. Bennet’s office to sign on.
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 President’s budget cuts Farm Bill conservation funding by $800 million and we’d like to see it restored.
- Farm Bill conservation projects are already producing results and you can read more in our Farm Bill report here.
- These Farm Bill conservation programs help with wetland protection or creation, adding to the goal outlined in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy of restoring 1 million acres of wetlands to the region.
- There is still more work to do, and current problems will only get worse and more costly the longer we wait.