Joyce, Portman sponsor bipartisan, bicameral legislation to protect Great Lakes

U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) on July 25 introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill to reauthorize and increase funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

The GLRI Act of 2019, H.R. 4031/ S. 2295, would reauthorize the initiative for another five years and increase federal funding to $475 million annually from $300 million annually by fiscal year 2026.

“I’m proud to introduce the GLRI Act of 2019 with so many of my colleagues from Ohio and I look forward to continuing to work with them to protect this national treasure and preserve it for both current and future generations,” said Rep. Joyce, who sponsored H.R. 4031 with 41 cosponsors.

Among them are U.S. Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH), Mike Turner (R-OH), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), John Katko (R-NY), Paul Mitchell (R-MI), Fred Upton (R-MI), Tom Reed (R-NY), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), John Moolenaar (R-MI), Mike Kelly (R-PA), and lead Democrat Marcy Kaptur of Ohio.

Sen. Portman cosponsored S. 2295 with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and 11 other cosponsors.

“Lake Erie supports fishing and tourism industries totaling nearly $13 billion and is a top tourist destination in Ohio,” Sen. Portman said. “With 11 million people depending on Lake Erie for their drinking water and hundreds of thousands of Ohioans depending upon the lake for jobs, we must continue to protect our Great Lakes for the economic and environmental well-being of our region.”

Since its inception in 2010, the GLRI has helped protect and preserve the Great Lakes, which provide more than 1.5 million jobs, supply 90 percent of the nation’s fresh surface water, support over 3,500 species of plants and animals, and generate $62 billion in wages every year, according to the lawmakers.

Specifically, the GLRI program has helped triple the successful cleanup and delisting of Areas of Concern, restore 50,000 acres of coastal wetlands across the region, and reduce phosphorus runoff, among other beneficial projects noted by Rep. Joyce’s office.