WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) announced that he has introduced the Lake Erie Water Quality Protection Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to prioritize the development of dredge material management plans (DMMPs) for Ohio’s eight federal commercial navigation harbors along Lake Erie that adhere to the State’s water quality laws. Joyce’s bill is the House companion to Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown’s legislation, which was included as Sec. 139 of the Senate-passed Water Resources Development Act of 2022.
“Ohio’s eight federal commercial navigation harbors support more than 160,000 jobs, generate more than $25 billion annually in revenue, and provide a natural habitat for countless species of fish and other wildlife,” said Joyce. “I’m proud to introduce this bill in the House to ensure dredging not only continues to support our regional economy, but also further northeast Ohio’s environmental sustainability. The Great Lakes are both an economic powerhouse and an irreplaceable natural resource, and I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure they remain that way.”
DMMPs are long term planning documents used by the USACE to ensure that maintenance dredging activities are performed in an environmentally acceptable manner, use sound engineering techniques, and are economically warranted, and that sufficient placement areas are available for at least the next 20 years. These plans address dredging needs, placement capabilities, capacities of placement areas, environmental compliance requirements, potential for beneficial usage of dredged material, and indicators of continued economic justification. The State of Ohio enacted a law in July 2015, which became effective in July 2020, limiting open lake placement of dredge material under certain circumstances due to concerns about water quality.
Joyce has long fought to protect and preserve the Great Lakes, successfully securing necessary funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative every year since coming to Congress in 2013. Both as Co-Chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force and as the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, Joyce has had numerous pieces of Great Lakes legislation passed by the House, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act, which was signed into law last year.