U.S. House Approves $475 Million Plan to Restore Great Lakes, Revive Economy

National Wildlife Federation urges U.S. Senate to pass President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative following action by House of Representatives.

06-26-2009 // Jeff Alexander

Efforts to restore the Great Lakes advanced in the U.S. Congress today, as the House of Representatives approved $475 million to fund President Obama’s new Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The Senate Committee on Appropriations yesterday approved $400 million for the initiative as part of its 2010 Interior and Environmental Protection Agency funding bill.

“We applaud the House of Representatives for taking action to advance Great Lakes restoration and economic recovery,” said the National Wildlife Federation’s Jeff Skelding, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “The urgent threats to our lakes and our economy demand federal action. This is an important step forward.”

Initiative funds solutions to help Heal Great Lakes

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative invests in solutions to restore the lakes--the largest surface fresh-water resource in the world. The initiative strives to:

  • clean up contaminated sediments which threaten public health;
  • prevent the introduction of more invasive species, a problem that already costs the region at least $200 million per year in damages and control costs;
  • prevent run-off and other pollution responsible for beach closures; and,
  • restore fish and wildlife habitat that is the foundation of the region’s outdoor recreational economy.

The full Senate will take up the spending bill after the July 4 holiday.

Good for environment and economy

Great Lakes restoration is not only good for the environment. It also good for the economy. The Brookings Institution found that the eight-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin stands to gain at least $2 in economic benefit for every $1 invested in Great Lakes restoration.

"Great Lakes restoration and economic recovery," said Skelding, "go hand-in-hand."

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