Coalition Supports New Great Lakes Bill

"This bill will strengthen federal Great Lakes restoration efforts"

06-26-2013 // Jordan Lubetkin
St Mary's River

The Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition is supporting a new bill in the U.S. Senate that would help bolster federal efforts to restore the Great Lakes, the source of 20 percent of the world’s surface fresh water which provides drinking water to more than 30 million people. The legislation would authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million annually to help continue successful programs to clean up toxic pollution, combat invasive species, restore fish and wildlife habitat and reduce runoff from cities and farms.

The Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013 was introduced today by U.S. Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and included co-sponsors Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Commenting on the new legislation, Chad Lord, policy director for the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition, said:

“This bill will strengthen federal Great Lakes restoration efforts. Programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are producing results in communities across the region, but more needs to be done. We commend Sens. Carl Levin, Mark Kirk and other supporters of the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013 for putting forward a bill that will help keep federal restoration efforts on track. We urge the full U.S. Senate to support and pass this bill.”

The Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013:

  • Authorizes for five years the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million annually;
  • Re-authorizes the Great Lakes Legacy Act that helps communities clean up toxic hotspots;
  • Re-authorizes the EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office, which oversees federal restoration efforts;
  • Permanently establishes the Great Lakes Advisory Board, which will recommend restoration priorities that federal agencies use when setting their budgets each year;
  • Permanently establishes the federal Great Lakes Interagency Task Force to increase coordination between federal agencies, as well as coordination between federal agencies and non-federal stakeholders.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 120 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. For more information visit http://www.healthylakes.org Follow us on twitter @healthylakes.

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