WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Rob Portman (OH), along with Representatives Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), today announced the passage of their bipartisan bill, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act, which reauthorizes and expands funding for the Great Lakes. The bipartisan bill will reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is set to expire at the end of FY 2021, for another five years. The bill increases the current 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. The legislation passed the House earlier this year and now heads to the President’s desk.
“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which I authored in 2010, has been a major success story that has been critical to addressing the threats that face our beloved Great Lakes. In Michigan, this program has helped clean up contamination, restore wetlands, and fight invasive species, but there is much more to be done. The good news is that Republicans and Democrats have come together in a bipartisan way to reinvest in this important program,” said Senator Stabenow.
“Today’s strong bipartisan passage of the GLRI Act is a victory for our efforts protect our Great Lakes. GLRI is a successful public-private partnership that has helped address the greatest threats to the Great Lakes, including harmful algal blooms, invasive species, pollution, and contamination. Despite the program’s success, there is more work to be done,” Senator Portman said. “Lake Erie supports fishing and tourism industries totaling over $10 billion and is a top tourist destination in Ohio. With more than 10 million people depending on Lake Erie for their drinking water and hundreds of thousands of Ohioans depending upon the Lake for jobs, we must continue to protect our Great Lakes for the economic and environmental well-being of our region. I urge the president to sign this important legislation into law as soon as possible.”
“The passage of this bipartisan bill is a huge win for the Great Lakes, the advocates who work tirelessly to protect them, Ohioans who rely on them for clean drinking water and the workers whose jobs depend on them,” said Congressman Joyce. “The success of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in combatting invasive species, reducing harmful algal blooms and restoring ecosystems proves just how much progress we can make when we work together to address the issues facing our communities. I was honored to introduce this bill alongside my colleagues on the Great Lakes Task Force and look forward to seeing the President sign it into law so that we can continue to preserve this national treasure for generations to come.”
“Since its inception, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has made the Great Lakes healthier and our local communities stronger,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “That’s why it was my honor to join my House and Senate colleagues in introducing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019. This bipartisan and bicameral bill will reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the most essential program in the effort to protect and restore our most precious resource: the Great Lakes. This legislation doubles down on federal investment in the Great Lakes because we know how effective the GLRI has been. Across Lake Erie and the Great Lakes Region, the GLRI is at the center of fighting invasive species, preventing, controlling and predicting harmful algal blooms, and reinvigorating our watershed and ecosystems.”
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is critical in cleaning up the Great Lakes and waterways, and addressing problems that directly impact public health and safety. The Initiative has focused efforts to stop the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species, restore coastline and prevent future contamination. Since 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided more than $2.7 billion to fund 5,449 projects throughout the Great Lakes region.