Kaptur Effort Brings Additional $20 Million for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, released the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will release an additional $20 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), funding recently enacted by Congress. As the longest serving Member on the House Appropriations Committee and in her capacity as Co-Chair of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force, Rep. Kaptur fought to secure this additional funding for the GLRI for FY 2020. The EPA announced that it anticipates using the increase to further its efforts to address persistent challenges affecting the Great Lakes including Areas of Concern (AOCs), invasive species control and prevention, excess nutrients, and habitat restoration.
“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative meets an enormous unmet need for our region and the millions of people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, work, and leisure,” said Rep. Kaptur. “The Great Lakes are among our planet’s greatest gifts. They provide our nation with 90% of our fresh surface water, are home to thousands of unique plant and animal species, and generate over $60 billion in wages every year. Put simply, our Great Lakes cannot be replaced – they must be protected and deserve robust federal investment. Today’s announcement reflects the bipartisan Congressional effort to increase funding for GLRI in Fiscal Year 2020, a process set in motion by the House Appropriations Committee, on which I serve. The GLRI is reshaping the ecological future of our Great Lakes for the better. I look forward to the good these funds will do through a wide variety of projects and initiatives in the region.”
EPA plans to use the $20 million directed by Congress to:
- Accelerate the Cleanup and Restoration of Great Lakes Areas of Concern ($7.5 million): The additional funds will be targeted to significant sediment remediation and habitat restoration projects to help meet the aggressive goals in GLRI Action Plan III to remediate, restore and delist U.S. AOCs.
- Fund Research and Development of Ballast Water Treatment Systems ($5 million): The additional funds will support further invasive species prevention by funding research and development of ballast water treatment systems for cargo vessels that operate primarily, but not exclusively, within the Great Lakes.
- Support the Great Lakes Trash Free Waters Grant Program ($2 million): The additional funds will continue efforts to provide healthy habitat for fish and wildlife by keeping trash out of the Great Lakes.
- Support Great Lakes states activities to reduce excess nutrient loads, restore habitat, and control and prevent invasive species ($5 million): The additional funds will be targeted for the highest priorities of the Great Lakes states to reduce excess nutrient loads, protect or restore habitat, and prevent and control aquatic invasive species such as Asian carp.
- Support Great Lakes National Program Office operations ($500,000): Additional funds are needed to support operations in the Great Lakes National Program Office.
The GLRI program represents a concerted coordination of federal agency resources to restore and protect the Great Lakes.