House passes legislation to authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Apr 27, 2016 Issues: Environment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) today celebrated the passage of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act. The bill authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which was created in 2009 by President Obama. Despite funding the program every year since then, Congress has never formally legitimatized the program through legislation.

The legislation authorizes the GLRI at $300 million per year through 2020. This is the same amount that Rep. Levin and a bipartisan group of fifty-five lawmakers requested that the House Appropriations Committee allocate to the program this year.

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act will allow this successful program to continue the critical work being done in Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes region. We’ve seen the impact that GLRI has had with the cleanup of the Clinton River Watershed. I’m pleased the House passed this bill so this program can continue its work,” said Rep. Levin. 

The GLRI has also accelerated the cleanup of Areas of Concern (AOC) around the Great Lakes. Since 2009, three sites – including White Lake in Michigan – have been de-listed. As a comparison, between the identification of AOCs in 1985 and 2005, only one site was cleaned up and del-listed.

Over the last seven years, with bipartisan support from Congress, the federal government has invested nearly $2 billion on more than 2,000 GLRI projects. This inter-agency program focuses on five major Great Lakes ecosystem problems: cleaning up the Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC), fighting invasive species, targeting nearshore nonpoint pollution, restoring habitat and protecting wildlife, and promoting environmental education and partnerships.