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Congress sends funding for Great Lakes to the President for approval

Money for cleaning up and restoring polluted areas of the Great Lakes has been approved by the U.S. Senate. The House already approved the bill. Now, it goes to President Donald Trump. Because of the bipartisan support for the legislation, the President is expected to sign it.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative started ten years ago at a funding level of $475 million a year, but it was reduced to $300 million after the first year.

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Laura Rubin is Director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. (file photo)

“And we've been at 300 million for the last nine years, so to get a five year reauthorization that takes us back up to $475 million over the next five years is a huge victory for the Great Lakes,” said Laura Rubin, Director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

The new five year re-authorization calls for $375 million in the first year of the reauthorization and ramping up to $475 million by 2026.

If approved by President Trump, the money will be used on thousands of projects.

“Whether to do large wetland restoration projects, land protection, Nature Conservancy or Ducks Unlimited or Watershed Councils and local Sierra Clubs, groups like that, that are doing either a dam removal or invasive species removal and even soil and water extension programs that are working with farmers on best management practices,” Rubin said.

The money would be distributed to federal agencies such as the EPA and Fish and Wildlife Service which would offer grant opportunities to the eight Great Lakes states, municipalities, universities, and non-profit groups working on Great Lakes issues.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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