Co-Chairs of Great Lakes Task Force & Northeast-Midwest Coalition statement on the President’s Budget Blueprint to eliminate Great Lakes Funding

March 16, 2017
Press Release

Contact: (Duffy) (Huizenga) (Joyce) (Kaptur) (Nolan) (Slaughter)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The co-chairs of the Great Lakes Task Force and the Northeast-Midwest Coalition joined together to disapprove of the elimination of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) in the President’s Budget Blueprint.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world — the Great Lakes. Congress has historically funded the GLRI to the tune of $300 million in each fiscal year.

Below are the statements from the co-chairs.

Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-7):

“The GLRI is a critical program that protects the Lakes and the environment that Wisconsinites love. I will continue to fight every day to protect these critical funds and will work with the Trump Administration to make sure the President knows how important it is that these restoration activities continue.”

Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-2):

"The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a critical program that works to preserve the Great Lakes for future generations. The health and vitality of the Great Lakes is instrumental to having a productive Great Lakes economy that creates good-paying jobs and sustained economic growth.

"Ultimately, it is Congress that has the constitutional authority to determine which programs are funded. In an era where federal spending must be prioritized, I believe the GLRI, which has a history of proven results and strong bipartisan support, should continue to be a national priority. As Great Lakes Task Force members, we plan to have active conversations with both the Administration as well as our colleagues on Capitol Hill about the importance of the GLRI as Congress continues the appropriations process."

Rep. Dave Joyce (OH-14):

“As directed under the Constitution, Congress has the power of the purse. This budget proposal is the opening volley in a long process and the idea that the Administration would eliminate a program that protects drinking water for more than 30 million people is hard to comprehend. However, like we have done in the past, we will work with all the members from the Great Lakes region and beyond to restore funding for this vital program.”

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9):

“President Trump's proposal cuts all funding to one of the most successful and popular clean water programs in the country," said Congresswoman Kaptur. "Millions of Americans are depending on us to ensure safe, clean drinking water and economic growth in the Great Lakes region. Instead of bailing on the world's greatest collection of fresh water, Congress will build on our success and work together in a bipartisan way to fight for our Great Lakes.”

Rep. Rick Nolan (MN-8):

“Tens of thousands of good-paying jobs are at stake in the fight to preserve the GLRI. President Trump’s recommendation to cut this initiative would prove disastrous for Minnesota and the Nation,” Congressman Nolan said. “That money is necessary to pay for hundreds of successful programs to restore shorelines, clean up waterways like the St. Louis River, and continue dredging and harbor maintenance critical to moving Iron Range taconite, Minnesota feed grains and Minnesota manufactured products from the Port of Duluth up the Great Lakes.”

Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY-25):

“President Trump’s proposed elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is an affront to the 26 million Americans in our region who rely on these lakes for commerce, drinking water, and transportation. This initiative has helped improve Lake Ontario for Rochester and has been absolutely critical in our fight against invasive species. It is clear with this budget that the president is turning his back on our moral obligation to be good stewards of the Great Lakes, which are home to 20 percent of all fresh water on Earth. As co-chair of the bipartisan Great Lakes Task Force, I will be working with Republicans and Democrats throughout the Great Lakes region to make sure this proposal does not become a reality.”


 A group of U.S. Representatives from the 18 Northeastern and Midwestern states created the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition in 1976. The bipartisan Coalition is co-chaired by David Joyce and Rick Nolan.

The House Great Lakes Task Forces is a bipartisan working group within the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition that cooperate to enhance the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes. Founded in the mid-1980s, the Great Lakes Task Forces work together to advocate for policies and programs that enhance our unique natural resource—the Great Lakes. The task force is co-chaired by Sean Duffy, Bill Huizenga, Marcy Kaptur and Louise Slaughter.