ANN ARBOR, MICH. (March 26, 2018) – Days after the passage of the fiscal year 2018 budget, which contained strong support for Great Lakes restoration programs in the budget for fiscal year 2019, 185 organizations urged the U.S. Congress to continue their support for restoration efforts. In letters to the U.S. House and Senate, organizations from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York urged public officials to maintain support for core Great Lakes programs that help protect the drinking water for more than 30 million people.
“The problems we face will only get worse and the price we pay will be much higher if the federal partnership with the region is scaled back,” the groups stated in the letters.
“The Great Lakes congressional delegation has delivered time and time again, and our message is straight forward: Keep it up,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “We’ve made progress, but there’s more work to do. Strong support from members of congress in the next budget can keep us on the right track. Now is not the time to cut funding, since this restoration work will only get harder and more expensive the longer we wait.”
The letter, delivered by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, asks members of Congress to:
- Provide $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
- At least double the funding for both the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds to $2.8 billion and $1.7 billion respectively to support water infrastructure investments.
- Take actions to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.
- Provide full funding for conservation programs under the Farm Bill, like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
- Support federal agency budgets that provide critical administrative and programmatic support that helps ensure the success of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other restoration activities in the region.
The letter to the U.S. House and Senate comes on the heels of Great Lakes Days, when more than 100 advocates for the lakes visited Washington, D.C., to urge federal public officials to support Great Lakes priorities that benefit the region’s environmental and economy.
The 185 local, state, and national groups that signed on to the letter highlight the widespread—and increasing—support for federal investment in Great Lakes restoration and protection efforts.