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Senators Peters & Stabenow Applaud $51 Million in Federal Funding for Great Lakes Cleanup Project in Rouge River Near Detroit

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI) and Debbie Stabenow (MI) applauded a $51 million federal investment from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support a Great Lakes cleanup project in the Lower Rouge River Old Channel. Funding for the project comes in part from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which Senator Stabenow authored in 2010 and Senator Peters helped lead in the House. Since its inception, Senators Stabenow and Peters have supported efforts to accelerate restoration of nine high-priority areas in Michigan, including the Rouge River, whose lakes, rivers and watersheds flow into the Great Lakes.  

“The Great Lakes are more than just a vital resource for our state, they are simply part of who we are as Michiganders. It’s critical that we continue to protect them for future generations,” said Senator Peters. “I am pleased that funding I helped secure in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is coming to Michigan to help further strengthen our waterways and habitats.”

“This is an important step forward in the restoration of the Rouge River that will help rehabilitate fish and wildlife habitats and improve Southeast Michigan’s waterways,” said Senator Stabenow. “Since I authored the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2010, it has been a proven success story. This is another example of how this initiative is working in our communities to improve the health of our waters and keep our communities safe.”

Work began last week to remove sediments in the river that contain toxic contaminants, including heavy metals, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These contaminants have harmful health impacts to fish and other wildlife and present a risk to human health and the environment.

Since 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided over $1.4 billion to fund more than 3,000 projects across Michigan. In 2020, Senators Stabenow and Peters authored the law to reauthorize and expand the program. In 2022, through the bipartisan infrastructure law, the senators helped enact the single-largest-ever investment in the GLRI. Earlier this year, they introduced legislation to reauthorize the GLRI through 2031 and increase the program’s annual funding level.

Peters has also authored and passed legislation into law to establish the Great Lakes Center of Expertise (GLCOE) in 2018 to examine the impacts of oil spills in freshwater environments and help develop effective responses. The GLCOE is headquartered in two Michigan locations to maximize research and operational capabilities: Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie and the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.