Peters, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase and Extend Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funding

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) joined bipartisan members of the Michigan congressional delegation to introduce legislation increasing funding to protect the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 will reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is set to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2021, for another five years. Peters was joined by Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), co-Chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, in introducing this bipartisan legislation. Co-Chairs of the House Great Lakes Task Force U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Bill Huizenga (MI-2), along with U.S. Representatives and members of the House Great Lakes Task Force Dan Kildee (MI-05), Paul Mitchell (MI-10), Fred Upton (MI-06), Andy Levin (MI-09), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), John Moolenaar (MI-04), Jack Bergman (MI-01) and Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“From restoring habitats to combatting invasive species, I’ve seen firsthand the impacts the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has on our waters, our land, and our communities,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “I am proud to support this legislation to protect the Great Lakes, which are an economic driver for the nation and source of drinking water for millions of people.”

“This Initiative has proven results which is why both Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate are behind this bill,” said Senator Stabenow. “With these positive results and given continued threats to our water, it’s a no-brainer to continue investing in the health of our Great Lakes and waterways.”

“I’m pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill. GLRI is successful public-private partnership that has helped address the greatest threats to the Great Lakes, including harmful algal blooms, invasive species, pollution, and contamination. Despite the program’s success, there is more work to be done,” said Senator Portman. “Lake Erie supports fishing and tourism industries totaling nearly $13 billion and is a top tourist destination in Ohio. With 11 million people depending on Lake Erie for their drinking water and hundreds of thousands of Ohioans depending upon the Lake for jobs, we must continue to protect our Great Lakes for the economic and environmental well-being of our region.”

“The GLRI is crucial for protecting Michigan’s waters, economy, businesses, and way of life,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “The Michigan Congressional delegation, along with our colleagues in other Great Lakes states, are committed to providing necessary resources to restore wildlife habitats and more funding to combat invasive species and emerging contaminants long-term. We’re united on this one.”

After speaking with the President earlier this year in West Michigan, it is clear that there is support for the GLRI in both Congress and at the White House,” said Congressman Huizenga. “By accelerating the cleanup of legacy pollution, taking greater action against invasive species, and increasing habitat restoration, this bipartisan legislation will further strengthen the ecology as well as the economy of the Great Lakes. I have long said the Great Lakes need to be a national priority, this bipartisan legislation helps do just that.”

“The Great Lakes are a national treasure and represent 90 percent of America’s freshwater. The Great Lakes are big job creators—generating billions of dollars in economic activity and supporting over a million jobs in the tourism, boating and fishing industries,” said Congressman Kildee. “This is why Republicans and Democrats have always come together to protect the health and vitality of the lakes. I’m proud to join this bipartisan group of members in introducing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act to grow our economy and protect the lakes for future generations.” 

“Our Great Lakes are a national treasure, and the GLRI supports critical projects that improve water quality, combat invasive species, protect the Great Lakes ecosystem, and more,” said Congressman Mitchell. “I am proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in support of the GLRI on behalf of Michiganders and all Americans.”

“Protecting our Great Lakes has always been and will always be one of my top priorities in Congress,” said Congressman Upton. “Bordering Lake Michigan, we simply have one of the most beautiful districts in the country, so we should do everything we can to support our Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act would provide critical funding to maintain our beaches, shorelines and natural waters, improve water quality, fight invasive species, and restore the ecosystem.”

“Preserving our Great Lakes is both a moral and a practical obligation. Our Lakes are national treasures critical to our environment, fresh water supply, jobs, commerce, agriculture, transportation, recreation, and so many other essential components of our lives,” said Congressman Levin. “GLRI has received the bipartisan support of Michigan’s congressional delegation because it has proven effective at protecting and restoring the largest fresh surface water system in the world. We need to extend and expand its funding for the sake of Michiganders and all Americans.”

“Those of us who call Michigan home know how central the Great Lakes are to our state’s economic prosperity and way of life,” said Congressman Walberg. “Over the years, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been an invaluable success story, and our bipartisan bill will bolster the program’s reach and cleanup efforts. I am proud to join my colleagues to advocate for the strategic investments necessary to protect the Great Lakes for all to enjoy.”

“The GLRI has done important work to protect the Great Lakes for future generations through its partnerships with CMU, Ducks Unlimited and other organizations,” said Congressman Moolenaar. “The Great Lakes are vital to our state and support thousands of Michigan jobs in fishing, boating and tourism.”

“Those of us who call Michigan home know the importance of our water and the need to protect, preserve and restore this treasured natural resource,” said Congressman Bergman. “I’m proud to continue supporting and advocating for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the President to ensure this funding remains in place.”

The bipartisan legislation would also increase the current authorization level from $300 million to $375 million in Fiscal Year 2022 and increase funding by $25 million per year until it reaches $475 million in Fiscal Year 2026. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is critical to cleaning up the Great Lakes, beaches and waterways and fighting invasive species like Asian carp. Since its inception in 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided more than $762 million for 880 projects across Michigan.