ANN ARBOR, MICH. (January 20, 2016)—A U.S. Senate committee today is considering a bill that is an integral piece of federal Great Lakes restoration efforts. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2015, which is being debated today at 10 a.m. Eastern by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million annually over the next five years. The initiative supports efforts to restore fish as wildlife habitat, clean up toxic pollution, reduce farm and city runoff, and fight invasive species. The popular program has supported more than 2,900 projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York since its inception in 2009.
Authorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a top priority of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is lead sponsor of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2015 (S. 1024).
Commenting on the bill, Chad Lord, policy director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“This bill strengthens Great Lakes restoration efforts, and is good for our environment and economy. We applaud Sen. Mark Kirk for his leadership to protect and restore the Great Lakes. We also thank Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for her ongoing defense of the Great Lakes as a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Federal restoration efforts have enjoyed strong bi-partisan support from Day 1—a testament to the millions of people who depend on the lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. Federal restoration efforts are producing results in communities across the region, and this piece of legislation will help that continue. At a time when Republicans and Democrats are looking to advance bipartisan priorities, restoring the Great Lakes is a good place to start. We urge the Senate to support and pass this bill.”
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of 125 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Learn more at www.healthylakes.org or follow us on Twitter @healthylakes.