WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, is calling on the Senate to take action and pass her bipartisan Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act to reauthorize and expand funding for the Great Lakes. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed this critical reform to preserve and 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. The bill increases the current authorization level from $300 million to $375 million in Fiscal Year 2022 and increases funding by $25 million per year until it reaches $475 million in Fiscal Year 2026.
“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has earned bipartisan support in Congress and is critical for the health of our region, our communities, and our clean water resources. It helps us clean up polluted sites, restore water quality and combat invasive species,” said Senator Baldwin. “Preserving the Great Lakes is not just an environmental goal - it is an economic necessity for Wisconsin. The House did its job and now the Senate needs to take action by passing my bipartisan legislation because making stronger, long-term investments in GLRI will help us ensure that our Great Lakes are protected and preserved for generations to come.”
Since its inception, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has tripled the successful cleanup and delisting of Areas of Concern, reduced phosphorus runoff and the threat of harmful algal blooms, controlled and stopped the advancement of invasive species, and restored wildlife habitat over thousands of miles of rivers and waterways. Since 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided more than $2.5 billion to fund 4,706 projects throughout the Great Lakes region.
Senator Baldwin was joined by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), co-Chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, and Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) in introducing this bipartisan legislation last year. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Vice Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Gary Peters (D-MI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Todd Young (R-IN), Vice Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, and 40 members of the House of Representatives are also co-sponsors of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019.