ANN ARBOR, MICH. (March 23, 2018)—The U.S. House and Senate have passed the fiscal year 2018 budget, which now heads to the White House to be signed by President Trump. The budget contains strong funding for core Great Lakes restoration priorities.
Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“The budget is a victory for the 30 million people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. We thank Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress who have stepped up to make Great Lakes restoration and protection a national priority. This budget keeps federal Great Lakes restoration efforts on track.
“Strong funding for federal agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service, provide a solid foundation for the successful implementation of Great Lakes restoration efforts in communities across the region. Despite the progress we’re seeing, serious threats remain. We look forward to working with bi-partisan leaders in the U.S. House and Senate to continue this tremendous state-federal partnership that is producing results for the environment and economy.”
In an example of bi-partisan support for the Great Lakes, last year U.S. Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), and the late Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) were joined by 60 colleagues on a letter to House appropriators in support of $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The Senate Great Lakes Task Force, chaired by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), also fought to restore Great Lakes funding. Members of the Task Force include U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).
The fiscal year 2018 budget contains:
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: $300 million, the same funding as current fiscal year.
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $1.693 billion, a $300 million increase
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $1.163 billion, a $300 million increase
- Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act grants: $63 million, a $53 million increase
- Environmental Protection Agency: $8.821 billion, a $763 million increase
- National Park Service: $3.202 billion, a $270 million increase
- S. Fish and Wildlife Service: $1.595 billion, a $75 million increase
- S. Geological Survey: $1.148 billion, a $63 million increase
- $50 million for three new grant programs authorized by the Water Infrastructure for Improvements to the Nation Act to address lead in drinking water, including $20 million for a Voluntary School Lead Testing grant program.
- Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study: $1.85 million.
- Chicago Electric Barrier: $16.7 million for operations and management.
- S. Sea Grant: $65 million
- Coastal Zone Management Act Grants: $75 million
- $8 million for the International Joint Commission
- $33.29 for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 150 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. For more information visit http://www.healthylakes.org Follow us on twitter @healthylakes.