Petri joins bipartisan group to introduce Great Lakes bill

Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) joined a diverse group of elected officials on Monday to introduce legislation that would improve the environmental and economic quality of the Great Lakes region.

The Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act was cosponsored by Reps. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Sandy Levin (D-Mich.). The proposed bill would address invasive species problems, coordinate protection and restoration efforts, and bring together business and environmental organizations that have a shared interest in the Great Lakes.

“It would be difficult to exaggerate the impact that the Great Lakes have on regional commerce, tourism, recreation and transportation in Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states,” Petri said. “And we’ve only scratched the surface of potential in some of these areas.”

Petri said recent studies show more than 1.5 million jobs are directly connected to the five lakes, generating $62 billion in wages.

“We should have good policy in place so that future generations are able to enjoy the Great Lakes free from pollution, deterioration and invasive species, which can all have serious long-term consequences,” Petri said.

Petri is a member of the Great Lakes Task Force in Congress.

Levin, the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, said that while the bill is a step in the right direction, it is still essential that Congress follows up and provides the resources needed to fully fund the vital programs and initiatives for the Great Lakes.