LAKELINE – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) joined Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) on his 7th annual fishing trip on Lake Erie followed by a roundtable to discuss how to best protect Lake Erie from threats such as harmful algal blooms and invasive species.
“Having grown up here on the North Shore of America, I know full-well how much Northeast Ohioans rely on Lake Erie, not only for fishing, boating and swimming, but also for clean drinking water and economic security,” said Dave. “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. That’s why I’m proud to work alongside Senator Portman to protect and preserve Lake Erie for current and future generations. The input we got from experts and stakeholders during today’s roundtable will help us continue to fight for the national treasure that is the Great Lakes system when we return to Washington.”
“Every year I look forward to visiting Lake Erie and hosting a roundtable discussion to hear from experts on the status of harmful algal blooms, invasive species, pollution, and more,” said Portman. “I take this valuable input back to D.C. where I have led on addressing toxic algal blooms, Asian carp, and pollutants. Lake Erie is an Ohio treasure. We all have responsibility to protect it and I will continue to fight any effort to cut funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to help preserve this treasure for future generations.”
The shallowest of all the Great Lakes, Lake Erie is particularly vulnerable to harmful algal blooms, which have plagued the lake for more than 45 years. In 2014 alone, harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie left 500,000 people without safe drinking water and cost roughly $65 million in diminished property values, lost tourism revenue and recreational opportunities, and increased water treatment costs.
In July, Dave and Senator Portman spearheaded a bipartisan, bicameral effort to preserve the Great Lakes by introducing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2019. This legislation, which was introduced by a total of 13 Senators and 40 Representatives, 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.
Dave has long championed efforts to protect the Great Lakes, which provide more than 1.5 million jobs, supply 90% of our nation’s fresh water, support over 3,500 species of plants and animals, and generate $62 billion in wages every year. As the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, Dave has fought to keep the GLRI fully funded. Dave has also prioritized efforts at the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency to address the serious threat of Asian carp and combat harmful algal blooms. To learn more about the GLRI, click here.