Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition Policy Director Chad Lord will be testifying today before a U.S. House subcommittee responsible for funding environmental programs. Lord will discuss federal efforts to restore the Great Lakes through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The hearing starts at 9 AM Eastern at Rayburn B-308. Lord will be speaking on a panel at 10:50 AM.
“The GLRI is delivering results,” Lord wrote in his prepared testimony. “But more work remains. Cutting restoration funding now will only make projects harder and more expensive the longer we wait.”
The U.S. House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing comes days after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representative sent letters to appropriations committee leaders, urging them to restore funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to $300 million. President Obama, in his budget released in early March, recommended cutting the program to $275 million, down from $300 million. Read the letters here.
The 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.
“Investments in Great Lakes restoration are creating jobs and leading to long-term economic benefits for the Great Lakes states and the country,” wrote Lord in his testimony. He went on to say: “Unfortunately, the health of the Great Lakes continues to be seriously threatened by problems such as sewage overflows that close beaches, toxic pollution that poses a threat to the health of people and wildlife, algal blooms that harm local drinking water supplies, and invasive species that hurt fish and wildlife populations and our outdoor recreation economy.”
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.