Young applauds Senate passage of his bill to update Great Lakes environmental maps

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) this week commended U.S. Senate passage of his bipartisan bill to update the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps for the Great Lakes that would identify sensitive shoreline resources prior to an oil spill event.

“I’m glad the Senate voted to pass our bipartisan bill to update the ESI maps, allowing us to better protect our natural resources and effectively respond to natural disasters,” said Sen. Young, who in May 2019 cosponsored the Great Lakes Environmental Sensitivity Index Act of 2019, S. 1342, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI).

Specifically, ESI maps are coordinated through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and document the potential ecological impacts to natural and human-use resources from possible oil spills, natural disasters and resource damage assessments.

If enacted, the legislation would require the NOAA to update at least once every seven years its ESI products for each coastal area of the Great Lakes, according to the congressional record bill summary.

Such new maps would provide more accurate assessments of coastal resources that are at risk of severe damage or a natural disaster, including endangered and threatened species, sensitive shoreline habitats, and widely used community resources, such as beaches, parks and boat ramps, according to Sen. Young’s office.

“The Great Lakes are one of America’s greatest natural resources,” said Sen. Young. “Hoosier families treasure our coastline along Lake Michigan and our close proximity to all the Great Lakes and it’s in all of our interests to robustly protect them.”

The Senate approved S. 1342 on Nov. 16 and the U.S. House of Representatives received the measure on Nov. 17 for action.