Supporting federal Great Lakes restoration funding

The Great Lakes are the world’s largest surface freshwater system and provide clean drinking water to nearly 40 million people. It is our responsibility to protect this great natural resource, and the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a critical part of that effort.

I was pleased the president signed a bipartisan budget agreement that includes vital funding to protect and improve the Great Lakes.

The GLRI supports important efforts to clean up toxic sites and restore natural habitat. It is also an essential resource for preventing the introduction of Asian carp into the Great Lakes and eliminating harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

Prior to passage of the budget agreement, I joined 63 members of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus (GLLC) in expressing support for the GLRI and urging Congress to continue fully funding the initiative.

In our letter, we noted that Congress passed legislation in 2016 authorizing the GLRI for five years at $300 million per year and urged the current Congress to follow through on that commitment.

The GLLC is a nonpartisan, binational organization of state and provincial legislators from eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces. The bipartisan group co‑signing the letter represented all eight states in the Great Lakes region.