01.20.16

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act

Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement after the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works passed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement after the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works passed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2015 (S. 1024):

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a critical program for our region, the health of our communities, and the protection of our clean water resource.  I am pleased to see that the Environment and Public Works Committee recognizes the importance of the GLRI to the Great Lakes, and I look forward to building on this important step forward by working with stakeholder groups and my colleagues to increase funding levels for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as the bill moves through the legislative process.”

Senator Baldwin has supported the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative since it was introduced in 2010 as a comprehensive strategy to clean up the Great Lakes. The program is an interagency effort, led by the Environmental Protection Agency, to restore the health of the Great Lakes by combating invasive species, cleaning up polluted sites and restoring water quality. 

Last year, Senator Baldwin urged the Senate Appropriations committee to provide full funding for the program. In addition, private foundations, non-profit groups and local governments often match funds, further leveraging the federal investment in the Great Lakes. The Brookings Institute has estimated that fully implementing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would yield between $80-$100 billion in benefits across the Great Lakes states, and as much as $2.3 billion in the Milwaukee metro area alone, from increased property values. 

Wisconsin projects have worked to reduce beach contamination in Milwaukee and provided fish habitat to restore healthy populations of species including trout and sturgeon in Door County, Milwaukee and Ozaukee County. Projects have removed toxic contaminated sediment from the Sheboygan River and from Milwaukee’s Lincoln Creek, Kinnickinnic River, and the Milwaukee River channel, which is a major step in river restoration.