ANN ARBOR, MICH. (December 16, 2015)—The U.S. House and Senate last night released the 2016 federal omnibus budget, which advances several Great Lakes priorities to protect clean drinking water, keep beaches open, and restore fish and wildlife habitat that are the foundation of the region’s outdoor recreation economy. The fiscal year 2016 budget:
- Provides $300 million to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to clean up toxic pollution, restore fish and wildlife habitat, reduce farm and city runoff, and combat invasive species;
- Authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for one year to ensure that the nation maintains its commitment to the Great Lakes; and,
- Helps local communities prevent sewage contamination by funding the Clean Water State Revolving Fund at $1.39 billion nationally, approximately $510 million of which will be invested in the eight-state Great Lakes region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
Read the budget here.
Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“This budget sends a strong message that Great Lakes restoration remains a top priority for the nation. It keeps federal Great Lakes restoration efforts on track, and it benefits millions of people. We’re glad to see that programs that are producing results around the region will continue.
“The Great Lakes congressional delegation deserves a huge ‘thank you’ for standing up for successful restoration efforts. The strong bi-partisan support for Great Lakes restoration and protection was essential to secure these key victories—and underscores how important the lakes are to people, communities, businesses, and industry. More than 30 million people depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water, and we hope that the next president understands that these successful restoration efforts need to continue.”
U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and U.S. Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) played roles in helping to secure strong Great Lakes restoration funding. U.S. Sens. Baldwin and Kirk and Rep. Joyce were instrumental in authorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The omnibus budget will likely be voted on by the full U.S. House and Senate on Friday.
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.