U.S. Senate Supports $400 Million for Great Lakes Restoration

Great Lakes restoration advances in Congress with action by Senate, paving way for pollution cleanups, economic recovery.

09-25-2009 // Jeff Alexander

The U.S. Senate last night passed an appropriations bill that provides $400 million for President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The president’s plan is an unprecedented effort to address some of the most urgent threats to the Great Lakes, including invasive species, toxic pollution and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat.

The House of Representatives earlier this summer approved $475 million for the plan. House and Senate negotiators will decide final funding for the initiative.

“Today’s action by the Senate paves the way for Great Lakes restoration and economic recovery,” said the National Wildlife Federation’s Jeff Skelding, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “We look forward to working with House and Senate leaders to fully fund this initiative at $475 million to restore the Great Lakes, jump-start the economy, safeguard public health and uphold our quality of life.”

White House seeks full funding for plan

The Senate action came after the Obama Administration urged the Senate to fully fund the initiative.

“Fully funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is vital for the millions of people who depend on the lakes for their jobs and way of life,” said Skelding. “We have solutions to problems such as toxic pollution and invasive species. It is time to use them.”

Restoring the Great Lakes is an environmental and economic issue. A study by the Brookings Institution found that the region would gain at least $2 in economic benefit for every $1 invested in Great Lakes restoration.

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