01.18.18

Peters, Stabenow Lead Bipartisan Push to Fund Critical Strategy to Protect Great Lakes Coastline in Next Year’s Budget

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, today led a bipartisan push to provide funding for the Great Lakes Coastline Resiliency Study, a critical strategy to protect coastlines across the state, in the fiscal year 2019 budget.  Following recent hurricanes that have caused massive flooding across the country, this study would help Great Lakes states to better assess potential vulnerabilities to coastal communities and evaluate measures to improve coastal resilience.  Stabenow and Peters made the funding request in a letter to Trump Administration officials that was signed by Great Lakes Task Force co-Chair Rob Portman (R-OH), Vice Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Members Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

“The Great Lakes coastline faces numerous threats, such as lake level fluctuations, erosion, flooding, nutrient runoff, and aging infrastructure. It is important to ensure that the Great Lakes’ 5,200-mile coastline is protected, as 4.2 million people live within two miles of a Great Lakes coastline,” wrote the Senators.  “The coastline is also imperative to a robust economy and tourism industry in the Great Lakes, as it includes 60 commercial harbors moving over 123 million tons of cargo annually, a maritime economy valued at $17.3 billion and generating 293,000 jobs, a $14 billion Great Lakes recreation and tourism economy, and a diverse ecosystem of features such as wetlands, bluffs, dunes and beaches and species that are either threatened or endangered.”

“The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study... proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in consultation with the Great Lakes states, would be the first of its kind to coordinate a strategy across the Great Lakes states to most efficiently and effectively manage and protect the Great Lakes coastline,” the Senators continued. “We fully intend for this study to be used to implement projects that will result in a more resilient coastline throughout the Great Lakes and a more strategic expenditure of state and federal funds.” 

The full text of the letter may be found below and here

January 17, 2018

  

The Honorable Mick Mulvaney                                         Mr. Ryan A. Fisher
Director                                                                                 Acting Assistant Secretary of the
Office of Management and Budget                                    U.S. Army (Civil Works)
725 17th Street, NW                                                              108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20503                                                       Washington, DC 20310-0101


Dear Director Mulvaney and Acting Assistant Secretary Fisher:

As members of the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force, we are writing to urge the inclusion of the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study in the President’s FY2019 budget request. This study, proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in consultation with the Great Lakes states, would be the first of its kind to coordinate a strategy across the Great Lakes states to most efficiently and effectively manage and protect the Great Lakes coastline.

Recent hurricanes have demonstrated the devastation and destruction that severe weather events and flooding can have on our nation’s coastlines and communities. The Great Lakes coastline faces numerous threats, such as lake level fluctuations, erosion, flooding, nutrient runoff, and aging infrastructure. It is important to ensure that the Great Lakes’ 5,200-mile coastline is protected, as 4.2 million people live within two miles of a Great Lakes coastline. The coastline is also imperative to a robust economy and tourism industry in the Great Lakes, as it includes 60 commercial harbors moving over 123 million tons of cargo annually, a maritime economy valued at $17.3 billion and generating 293,000 jobs, a $14 billion Great Lakes recreation and tourism economy, and a diverse ecosystem of features such as wetlands, bluffs, dunes and beaches and species that are either threatened or endangered. 

We were pleased to learn that this study is a top priority for the three Corps Districts (Chicago, Detroit, and Buffalo) surrounding the Great Lakes as well as the Corps’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. It also has the support of seven Great Lakes states, the Great Lakes Commission, and several federal agencies with missions in coastal management, including NOAA and U.S. Geological Survey. These partners have recognized the need for regional collaboration to ensure the most efficient use of resources to protect the Great Lakes coastline. We appreciate the Corps’ consultation with the Great Lakes states in proposing this study, as we fully intend for this study to be used to implement projects that will result in a more resilient coastline throughout the Great Lakes and a more strategic expenditure of state and federal funds.

In closing, we again reiterate our support for the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study, and ask that this study be included in the President’s FY2019 budget request. Thank you for your consideration of our request.