Protecting Our Great Lakes & Environment

Representing a state that borders four of the five Great Lakes, Gary knows firsthand how important it is for our environment and our economy that we protect our natural resources. 

The Great Lakes are a critical drinking water source, an economic engine and a vital part of our way of life in Michigan. Gary understands that we need policies to help preserve and protect this ecological treasure for future generations. About 40 million people in the United States and Canada count on the Great Lakes as a source of clean drinking water. They are the world’s largest system of fresh surface water, providing about one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water supply. Defending the Great Lakes against pollution and invasive species is essential – not just for preserving fish and wildlife in this fragile ecosystem, but for making sure this is a safe place for our kids and grandkids to swim and play. The Great Lakes also support more than 500,000 jobs in Michigan. From commercial shipping and agriculture to fishing, boating and tourism, the Great Lakes are deeply intertwined with key industries that drive our state’s economy.

Gary is a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, a bipartisan working group made up of Senators representing the states bordering the Great Lakes. He has been a leader on pushing for enhanced oversight of aging pipelines in the Great Lakes, such as the one running through the Straits of Mackinac, where a pipeline break could trigger an environmental disaster. Gary continues to support robust funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and is working to protect the Great Lakes from threats ranging from plastic micro-beads and Asian carp to proposed permanent nuclear waste storage. He is working to help Michigan’s waterfront communities develop smart, forward-thinking strategies to revitalize their local economies and make the most of their water resources.

We must constantly be looking towards the future by investing in clean energy job creation and supporting measures to tackle the threat of climate change, which exacerbates current challenges in the Great Lakes like algal blooms and invasive species. Gary is committed to building climate resiliency for our communities and standing firm against attacks on environmental protections. He will fight efforts to undermine our nation’s key environmental laws, and he has opposed plans to develop our most sensitive ecosystems, like the Arctic. He is working in Congress to permanently authorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an indispensable tool for protecting our state’s most treasured natural places for all to enjoy. He has also introduced the Vehicle Innovation Act to improve advanced vehicle technology R&D that will boost fuel economy, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.