Joyce’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative clears House with bipartisan support

The House of Representatives approved bipartisan legislation on Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) introduced to ensure the ecological and economic well-being of the Great Lakes basin.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), H.R. 223, would ensure safe drinking water for 35 million Americans, advance clean-up of areas of concern within the Great Lakes watershed, and protect the Great Lakes from invasive Asian Carp.

“I believe water resources are the new gold,” Joyce said. “As such, we need to make sure we are protecting one of the greatest natural and economic resources of the nation.”

The GLRI would also provide funding to restore, protect and enhance more than 115,000 acres of wetlands in the Great Lakes region and remove 250 dams and barriers to provide fish access to more than 3,800 miles of water.

“This legislation makes the Great Lakes a long-term priority,” Joyce said. “The Great Lakes are home to 95 percent of the U.S. surface freshwater and we can’t let its protection get bogged down in partisan politics.”

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said that she was pleased with the House’s bipartisan passage of the GLRI.

“As a member of the House Invasive Species Caucus, I am continuing to work at the federal level to raise awareness and work towards solutions to protect our natural ecology and our environment,” Stefanik said. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is an important, bipartisan program to protect these natural treasures and prevent and control invasive species and their impacts on these natural habitats.”

U.S. Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) added that GLRI is a group of programs that reduce toxic substances, prevent the spread of invasive species, restore near-shore habitats and protect wildlife.

“The 10th district of Illinois borders one of our nation’s greatest treasures, Lake Michigan, which provides miles of beaches, natural habitat and recreation in Illinois, as well as drinking water for millions,” Dold said. “(On Tuesday), the House took an important step toward protecting Lake Michigan by reauthorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) cosponsored the measure reauthorizing GLRI through 2019 at $300 million per year, subject to annual appropriations.

“As a lifelong Michigan resident, I believe each of us has a responsibility to ensure the beautiful lakes, beaches and rivers we enjoy today will still be around for our children and their children in the years to come,” Bishop said. “Doing so will require improving the water quality, repairing local marshes and rooting out the invasive species encroaching on our shorelines – which are just some of the many priorities of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. I am proud to be part of our delegation’s bipartisan effort to protect the future of our Great Lakes.”

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) said that supporting the Great Lakes ecosystem remains one of his top priorities.

“I was pleased to be able to co-sponsor and help advance this vital bipartisan legislation, which focuses on improving the environmental quality of our Great Lakes,” Upton said. “Whether it’s a lazy Sunday on the lake with family, fishing with friends, or any number of activities – Michiganders all have a deep, personal connection to our lakes – and we’re working to preserve them for the next generation to enjoy.”

The Great Lakes generate billions of dollars each year and account for nearly 85 percent of the country’s fresh water drinking supply, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI), the co-chairwoman of the Great Lakes Task Force, said in a floor speech.

“Over the years, I have seen, firsthand, the impact GLRI is having on our Lakes,” Miller said. “From dredging to beach and shoreline restoration to fighting against invasive species, the projects they support are critical to protecting and restoring the Great Lakes’ ecosystems and natural habitats. Just last fall I was thrilled to be part of the unveiling of $20 million in GLRI grants for the Clinton River Restoration. The Clinton River, which flows through a major metropolitan area, is in desperate need of restoration. This funding will go a long way in ensuring the Clinton River is no longer an Area of Concern and has a thriving ecosystem and watershed.”

More Articles About Dave Joyce
More Articles About Environment