The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition today issued its support to U.S. House and Senate leaders who are pushing to restore funding to Great Lakes programs. The group of bi-partisan public officials is asking federal appropriators to restore funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to $300 million weeks after the Obama Administration recommended cutting the program from $300 million to $275 million.
A bipartisan group of 11 senators and 46 representatives have sent letters to leaders of Senate and House appropriations committees responsible for environmental programs, urging colleagues to restore funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Read the Senate letter here.
Read the House letter here.
The federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative invests in efforts to clean up toxic pollution from rivers and harbors, restore fish and wildlife habitat, beat back invasive species like Asian carp, and reduce runoff from cities and farms. The Obama Administration and U.S. Congress have invested more than $1.6 billion in the initiative over the last five years, funding more than 2,000 projects in the eight Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
Commenting on the letters, Todd Ambs, campaign director of the Healing Our Waters, said:
“This tremendous bipartisan support is inspiring. We thank U.S. Sens. Levin and Kirk, and Reps. Levin, Dingell, Slaughter, and Joyce for their strong leadership, and we look forward to working with the region’s congressional delegation to restore funding to core Great Lakes programs that are producing results for our environment and economy. Despite the progress we’re seeing in communities across the region, much work remains. If we cut funding now, projects will only become harder and more expensive the longer we wait.”
U.S. Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) spearheaded the letter in the Senate, which was also signed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Al Fraken (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Kirsten Gillebrand (D-N.Y.)
U.S. Reps. Reps. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), John Dingell (D-Mich.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio) led the effort in the House. Signatories also include U.S. Reps. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Timothy Walz (D-Minn.), Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.), Reid Ribble (R-Wisc.), Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Thomas Petri (R-Wisc.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), Matthew Cartwright (D-Penn.), Mike Kelly (R-Penn.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.), Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Chris Gibson (D-N.Y.), Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.).
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of 115 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.