WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, on January 5, 2021, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2020, a bill introduced by Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) and his colleagues on the bipartisan Great Lakes Task Force to reauthorize and expand funding for the program, was signed into law. In total, the bill was introduced by 13 Senators and 40 Representatives, including Ohio’s own Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), 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 Great Lakes are an irreplaceable resource and invaluable economic driver for not only Ohio but our entire country,” said Joyce. “They provide clean drinking water to 48 million Americans, support more than 1.5 million jobs and generate over $62 billion in wages each year. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is absolutely critical to efforts that confront the threats the lakes face like harmful algal blooms, water pollution, invasive species, and coastal erosion. I was honored to introduce this bipartisan bill alongside my colleagues on the Great Lakes Task Force and look forward to seeing it enhance the Initiative’s success in protecting and preserving the Great Lakes for both current and future generations now that it’s law.”
Now law, Joyce’s bill reauthorizes the GLRI, which is set to expire at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2021, for another five years. It also increases the authorization level from $300 million to $375 million in FY 2022 and increases funding by $25 million per year until it reaches $475 million in FY 2026. As Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Task Force and the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, Dave is a fierce advocate for the GLRI and other programs that aim to protect and preserve the Great Lakes. He has successfully fought to ensure the GLRI receives appropriate funding every year since coming to Congress in 2013.
“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a visionary effort to protect and restore Lake Erie and our other Great Lakes by funding critical conservation efforts such as wetland restoration and coastal resource protection which not only improve water quality but enhance habitat and recreational opportunities,” said Bill Stanley, State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Ohio. “We are so appreciative of the dedication and leadership of Rep. Joyce on GLRI and in the Congressional Great Lakes Caucus. Through his efforts to renew and increase funding for GLRI we can continue this vitally important work into the future.”
“Ohio has benefited from cleaner and safer water as a result of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI),” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director with the Ohio Environmental Council. “GLRI investments have helped protect our drinking water at the source and restored places to fish, hike and reconnect with friends and families. We thank Representative Joyce, and Ohio’s Congressional delegation, for being such strong champions for the Great Lakes region.”
“This is a huge victory for the more than 30 million people who rely on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, health, jobs, recreation, and quality of life,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Over the past decade, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been producing results for communities across the region, but serious threats remain. This bill recognizes the work we have left to do, and allows Congress to boost funding to tackle these threats before they get worse and more expensive to solve. We thank the Great Lakes congressional delegation for their relentless determination to pass this bill and to ensure that the Great Lakes and clean water remain national priorities. We applaud U.S. Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) for his leadership, along with Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and the many Democrats and Republicans who worked in a spirit of bi-partisanship to get this legislation across the finish line. We look forward to working with them to ensure that clean and affordable water is available to every person.”
“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act ensures that important on-the-ground restoration projects will continue around the region over the next five years. This is great news for Great Lakers who depend on the lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and recreational opportunities. Safe and clean water has taken on even greater importance in the midst of the ongoing pandemic,” said Molly M. Flanagan, Vice President for Programs at the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “We applaud Congressman Joyce’s leadership on this critical legislation and appreciate his ongoing support in protecting the Great Lakes for current and future generations.”
“It’s hard to overstate the value that the Great Lakes provides to millions of birds, people and wildlife across our region. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act is a huge win for the all those that depend on the world’s largest source of freshwater,” said Marnie Urso, Policy Director for Audubon Great Lakes. “For the past ten years, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has supported projects that improve the quality of our water and restore crucial habitat for birds and wildlife all while creating jobs and benefiting the economy. We applaud the leadership of Congressman Joyce along with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who came together to champion clean water and a healthy ecosystem for years to come.”
“We are grateful to Congressman Joyce and his fellow chairs of the bipartisan, bicameral Great Lakes Task Force for their leadership in passing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which not only funds cleanups, fights harmful algal blooms and protects the Great Lakes from invasive species, but generates $3.35 in economic activity for the region per every dollar spent,” said Sharon M. Jackson, deputy general counsel to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and chair of the Great Lakes Commission, a binational government agency established in 1955?to protect the Great Lakes and the economies and ecosystems they support. “This legislation will allow us to continue the successful coordination between localities, states and the federal government to restore the Great Lakes.”