Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition
Press Release

U.S. House Passes Vital Great Lakes Bill

Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition urges Senate to Act to ensure that the national maintains commitment to Great Lakes

By - Apr 26th, 2016 04:00 pm

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (April 26, 2016)—The U.S. House today passed by voice vote the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016, a bill that is an integral piece of federal Great Lakes restoration efforts. The bill, H.R. 223, authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million annually over the next five years. The initiative supports efforts to restore fish as wildlife habitat to support outdoor recreation opportunities, clean up toxic pollution to protect human health, reduce farm and city runoff to protect drinking water and keep beaches open, and fight invasive species.

Authorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a top priority of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

Commenting on passage of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016 bill, Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:

“We thank the U.S. House for passing a bill that is vital to the millions of people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. We especially appreciate the support from U.S. Rep. David Joyce, who has worked tirelessly to pass this important bill. Federal restoration efforts have enjoyed strong bi-partisan support from Day 1—a testament to the importance of the Great Lakes, which supply drinking water to more than 30 million people.

“Federal restoration efforts are producing results. Although we have made progress, the Lakes still face serious threats. So we urge the U.S. Senate to act swiftly so that the nation continues its commitment to the Great Lakes. We can’t afford to stop now. Restoration projects will only get harder and more expensive the longer we wait.”

Over the last seven years, the U.S. Congress has invested over $2.2 billion through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in more than 2,900 projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. These projects have restored more than 150,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat; opened up fish access to more than 3,800 miles of rivers; helped farmers—in combination with other programs—implement conservation programs on more than 1 million acres of rural working lands; and accelerated the cleanup of toxic hotspots by delisting three formerly contaminated sites. In the previous two decades before the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, only one site identified as a toxic hotspot had been delisted.

Co-sponsors of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016 include: Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Sander Levin (D-MI), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Dan Benishek (R-MI), Chris Collins (R-NY), Richard Nolan (D-MN), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Tom Reed (R-NY), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Tim Ryan (D-OH), James Renacci (R-OH), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Candice Miller (R-MI), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Reid Ribble (R-WI), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Peter Visclosky (D-IN), Dold (R-IL), Daniel Kildee (D-MI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Katko (R-NY), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Timothy Walz (D-MN), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Christopher Gibson (R-NY), Mike Bishop (R-MI), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Bill Johnson (R-OH), David Trott (R-MI), Steve Israel (D-NY), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Michael Turner (R-OH), Fred Upton (R-MI), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL),  and Steve Stivers (R-OH).

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 130 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Learn more at www.healthylakes.org or follow us on Twitter @healthylakes.

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