ANN ARBOR, MICH. (July 31, 2015) – The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, released a report yesterday that found federal Great Lakes restoration funds are being invested in the manner in which they were intended. The GAO had been asked to examine how federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds had been spent. Over the last six years, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has invested $1.9 billion in more than 2,500 projects in the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Restoration projects work to restore habitat, clean up toxic pollution, reduce runoff from cities and farms, and combat invasive species.
“The GAO report affirms that money spent on federal Great Lakes restoration efforts are in-line with goals of the program and need to continue,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “We look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress who have championed restoration efforts the last six years, to maintain these efforts that are producing results in communities across the region.”
This is the second time in three years that the Government Accountability Office has been asked to assess the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and the findings in this report are similar to the one that came out in 2013.
The report comes days after the EPA issued its report to Congress, detailing how federal Great Lakes restoration efforts over the last five years have accelerated cleanup across the region.
“The steps taken by federal agencies and the history of accomplishments under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative show that this program is doing great work for our environment and economy,” said Ambs. “It’s time for this program to be authorized so that we can see the job through to the end.”
Currently, there is legislation in both the U.S. House and Senate to authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for five years at between $300 million and $475 million annually.