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Peters Helps Advance Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill with Funding for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Clean Drinking Water, and PFAS Mitigation

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) recently helped the Senate Appropriations Committee pass the Fiscal Year 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The bipartisan legislation would fund Michigan priorities, including through investments in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, lead reduction efforts, flood mitigation projects, local water infrastructure updates, and toxic PFAS chemical removal efforts.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is considering their own funding bills. The Senate and House will then need to reach an agreement on a final funding bill and have it pass both chambers before being sent to the President to be signed into law.

“This bill includes important provisions for Michigan, like increased funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, improving access to clean drinking water, mitigating toxic PFAS chemicals, and helping our communities become more resilient to severe weather,” said Senator Peters. “As we continue working on bills to fund the government, I’ll keep fighting for our Michigan priorities to be included.”

The bill includes measures led and supported by Peters, including:

  • Funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Would provide $373 million, an increase in funding for GLRI, which plays a critical role in improving water quality and restoring Great Lakes habitats and waterways. Peters helped secure the single-largest-ever investment in the GLRI from the bipartisan infrastructure law to accelerate the restoration of nine high-priority areas in Michigan whose lakes, rivers and watersheds flow into the Great Lakes. In 2020, Peters authored the law to reauthorize and expand the GLRI. In 2019, Peters secured a bipartisan provision that was signed into law to provide the first increase in GLRI support in a decade.
  • Funding to address invasive carp: Would provide funding for the U.S. Geological Survey to address invasive carp issues in the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River Basin. The bill also includes direction for EPA to use funds to build on efforts to implement the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain Invasive Species Program to reduce the risk of introduction of invasive species into the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.
  • Removing lead from drinking water and schools in Michigan and across the country: Would provide funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lead abatement, inspection, and enforcement programs – including the Lead Testing in Schools Program, the Reducing Lead in Drinking Water Program, and the Lead Risk Reduction Program. The legislation would also provide funding for the EPA’s lead risk reduction prevention efforts.
  • Funding for PFAS remediation efforts: Would provide funding to support the EPA’s research on the impact of PFAS in agricultural settings and communities. The bill would also recommend the EPA expeditiously remediate Superfund sites contaminated with PFAS and other contaminants, while also providing technical assistance and support to states and Tribes during the cleanup process. It would also provide funding for the EPA’s Public Water System Supervision programs to address PFAS and other contaminants, support for programs at the NIH to study PFAS and other contaminants of emerging concern; and encouragement for EPA to prioritize efforts to address lead hazards in homes with children and schools.
  • Funding for replacing lead pipes and water meters in Dearborn: Would provide $2 million to support the replacement of existing water meters with new, technology-enabled systems that will help the city’s water department become more efficient and enhance the delivery of services to residents.
  • Funding for the City of Hamtramck to remove and replace lead service lines: Would provide $2.4 million for the City of Hamtramck to replace lead service lines.
  • Funding for Romulus to remove and replace lead service lines: Would provide $1.2 million for the City of Romulus to remove and replace lead service lines in Romulus and identify additional water service lines in need of replacement.
  • Funding to rehabilitate the wastewater treatment facility in Saline: Would provide $1.8 million to support a comprehensive rehabilitation of the City of Saline’s wastewater treatment plant, improving water quality and protecting Michigan’s surface waters.
  • Preventing and responding to flooding and heavy rains in Michigan and across the country: Would provide funding to expand the work of the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Streamflow Network, which is a system of 8,500 stream gages that record water level information. The funding would be used to develop novel water quality sensors, apply machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to improve data stream management, and provide on-the-ground knowledge to understand where and how to install new gages to maximize the information gained by an expanded streamflow network – which would help better plan for and respond to heavy rains and floods.
  • Funding for a new water processing facility in Delta: Would provide $1 million for a new treatment processing center at the Delta Water Resource Recovery Facility to meet updated state standards.
  • Funding for improvements to the Clinton River Water Resources Recovery Facility: Would provide $2 million to support the replacement of critical components of the Clinton River Water Resources Recovery Facility.
  • Funding to remove PFAS from a well in the Village of Hesperia: Would provide $600,000 to remove PFAS from one of the Village of Hesperia’s drinking wells.
  • Supporting Federal Firefighters: Would provide support for federal firefighters by authorizing higher base pay for firefighters at the Forest Service and Department of the Interior. The bill would create a health and wellness program for federal firefighters to provide support to combat the real danger of injury and fatigue. It would also direct the agencies to prioritize improvements to fire facilities and firefighter housing – in addition to converting seasonal positions to full-time.
  • Funding to support the work of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Would provide funding for EPA’s critical responsibilities protecting our environment and people’s health, including clean air and climate programs, geographic restoration programs and the Brownfields Program. It would also provide support for the EPA to fund research grants that help support scientific progress towards preventing and controlling harmful algal blooms in freshwater and coastal ecosystems, and to prioritize funding for research on how to better manage and understand these algal blooms.
  • Funding for the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct research on the Great Lakes: Would provide funding for the USGS Environmental Health Program to conduct PFAS research focusing on the ecosystems of the Great Lakes. The bill would also provide funding for the USGS Land Management Research Program to continue research on the Great Lakes and would provide support for the USGS Cooperative Research Units Program, including with a strong focus on Great Lakes fisheries.
  • Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): Would provide funding for federal land acquisition and financial assistance to states provided through the LWCF under the Great American Outdoors Act. This program is critical for improving recreational access to our federal lands, protecting iconic landscapes, delivering grants to states and local governments to create and protect urban parks and open spaces, and providing farmers and ranchers with easements to allow them to continue to steward their private lands in the face of development pressures. Michigan has received significant funding from LWCF over the years, which has helped protect places such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Keweenaw National Historical Park, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, the North Country National Scenic Trail, and all of Michigan’s National Forests.
  • Funding for the Department of the Interior: Would provide funding the Department of the Interior, including for the Bureau of Land Management. The bill would also provide funding for the National Park Service to more effectively manage the nearly 84 million acres of land that comprises over 400 national parks, monuments, historic sites, and other recreational areas while also providing needed resources to provide Park Service staff. Michigan is home to five National Parks, which draw more than 2.5 million visitors to the state annually and are important to the economy.
  • Funding for the Forest Service: Would provide funding for the Forest Service to improve forest restoration and fire risk reduction efforts and to increase year-round staffing to carry out this critical work. The bill would provide funding for hazardous fuels reduction projects and for the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program and the Legacy Roads and Trails program to prioritize fish passage improvements and repurposing unnecessary roads as trails.
  • Funding for tribal programs: Would provide an increase in funding for Tribal programs across the Department of the Interior and the Indian Health Service.