WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) applauded the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s passage of their bill, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2019. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would reauthorize the GLRI for another five years and increase authorized funding for the program from $300 million annually to $475 million annually by fiscal year 2026. In total, the bill was introduced by 13 Senators and 40 Representatives, including Ohio’s own Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dave Joyce (OH-14), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Steve Stivers (OH-15), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Bob Gibbs (OH-07), and Mike Turner (OH-10). The bill passed committee unanimously by voice vote and now awaits action on the House floor.
“As a life-long resident of Northeast Ohio who grew up swimming and fishing in Lake Erie, I was proud to introduce the GLRI Act of 2019 alongside Representative Kaptur and so many of our colleagues from Ohio and the other Great Lakes states,” said Rep. Joyce, the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. “Any threat to Lake Erie is also a threat to the drinking water supply for 11 million people, our tourism industry, and all the plants and animals that are a part of the lake’s ecosystem. I applaud the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for recognizing the importance of this bill today and look forward to continuing my work to protect the national treasure that is the Great Lakes system and preserve it for both current and future generations.”
“Through bipartisan efforts we have reauthorized the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and increased the federal investment from $300 million to $475 million annually through 2026. The GLRI makes possible, key federal investments to improve the health of our beloved Great Lakes,” said Rep. Kaptur, Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. “As a critical economic and environmental resource to our region on which millions of Americans depend for everything from drinking water and recreation to fishing and shipping goods, the Great Lakes need our full attention. Lake Erie faces unique challenges that threaten our multi-billion dollar fishing industry and equally important tourism industry, including invasive species such as Asian Carp, as well as Harmful Algal Blooms, which have contaminated water supplies in Northern Ohio. I am grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, especially those on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee including Chairman DeFazio, for their support and urge the bill’s swift passage on the House floor.”
“This is excellent news for the 30 million people who count on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and quality of life,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “We thank U.S. Reps. David Joyce and Marcy Kaptur for their support for boosting Great Lakes restoration funding. Federal investments in the Great Lakes are producing results for communities across the region. But serious threats remain. The funding increase in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 acknowledges that we have a lot more work to do. We look forward to working with public officials to ensure that Great Lakes restoration and protection remain a national priority.”
“We applaud U.S. Reps. David Joyce and Marcy Kaptur for their continued leadership on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). As a result of the GLRI, Ohio has benefited in cleaner and safer water in rivers, lakes, and streams and for drinking, as well as restored places to fish, hike, and reconnect with friends and families,” said Pete Bucher, advocate for the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund. “For every $1 invested in restoring the Great Lakes approximately $4 will be returned in economic and environmental benefits. Reauthorizing and increasing GLRI funding is crucial to maintaining strong economies throughout the Great Lakes region.”
“The health of our Great Lakes is critical to the quality of life and economic growth in our region,” said the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, which represents more than 60,000 businesses across the Great Lakes region. “We know, because of research we supported with the Great Lakes Commission and other key groups, that every federal dollar invested in the GLRI generates nearly $4 in economic activity for our region. We are pleased that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will pass the GLRI reauthorization bill. We stand ready to partner with Representatives Joyce, Kaptur and the rest of the delegation to ensure full passage of this important legislation.”
Since its inception in 2010, the GLRI has significantly contributed to the protection and preservation of the Great Lakes which provide more than 1.5 million jobs, supply 90% of our nation’s fresh surface water, support over 3,500 species of plants and animals, and generate $62 billion in wages every year. Specifically, the program has helped triple the successful cleanup and delisting of Areas of Concern, restore 50,000 acres of coastal wetlands across the region, reduce phosphorus runoff and the threat of harmful algal blooms, control invasive species, and double farmland acres under nutrient conservation. All of this progress has resulted in economic returns of more than 3-to-1 across the region.
For more information about the GLRI, visit https://www.glri.us.