Rep. Levin Cosponsors New Bill to Authorize Great Lakes Restoration

Jan 8, 2015 Issues: Environment

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Sander Levin today joined a bipartisan group of House lawmakers in introducing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2015, legislation to formally authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  A similar bill was approved by the House of Representatives on December 9, but failed to pass the Senate before the last Congress ended.   

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was created by the Obama Administration in 2010.  Over the last six years, Congress has provided more than $1.9 billion for the GLRI, which funds restoration efforts in the Lakes, including cleaning up toxic hotspots; fighting aquatic invasive species, like the Asian carp; restoring critical habitat; and addressing polluted runoff that contributes to beach closures and harmful algal blooms in the Lakes.

Formal authorization of the GLRI strengthens the program, provides for regular congressional oversight, and makes it more likely that future congresses will continue to fund the effort.  The newly introduced House bill calls for funding GLRI at up to $300 million a year between 2016 and 2020, although Congress will need to come up with the money in the annual funding bills.

“The important work of fully restoring the Great Lakes must continue,” said U.S. Rep. Sander Levin. “It is time for Congress to take the next step and formally authorize this vital program.  Just as importantly, the House and Senate need to provide the resources to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as we get to work on this year’s budget.  I will be working to make sure the House Appropriations Committee understands how important this program is to the Great Lakes region.”