U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10) has delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2014 (H.R. 5764), legislation she cosponsored to authorize the use of $300 million for the continued maintenance and restoration of the Great Lakes:
“Protecting and preserving the Great Lakes has always been one of my primary advocacies throughout my entire tenure in public office.
“Our Great Lakes generate billions of dollars each year through the fishing and shipping industries and recreational activities. They account for over 20% of the fresh water drinking supply on the entire planet.
“Unfortunately, we have not been the best stewards of these magnificent Lakes, and we owe it to future generations to help assure they are preserved and protected.
“One way to do that is through the continued funding and support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
“Over the years, I have seen, firsthand, the impact GLRI is having on our Lakes. From dredging to beach and shoreline restoration to fighting against invasive species, the projects it supports are critical to protecting and restoring the Great Lakes’ ecosystems and natural habitats.
“In October, I was on Harsens Island in my district to learn more about the effort underway to control phragmites – a huge invasive plant that has been choking wetlands – but funding through this program is eradicating them and letting Mother Nature breathe again.
“Along the shoreline of the St. Clair River, GLRI funded the restoration of natural habitats and improved storm water drainage – improving water quality – but we need to do so much more.
“For example, the Clinton River, which flows through a major metropolitan area, is in need of similar restoration projects. We also need to look at ways we can better detect toxins in our waterways, like real-time water quality monitoring systems, some of which we have in the area. However, it is not happening everywhere, like in Lake Erie, and it has to be part of the notification protocol there as well.”
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2014 (H.R. 5764), which passed the House by voice vote, formally authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million annually from 2015 through 2019.
Previous Funding Levels for GLRI:
– FY2010: $475 million;
– FY2011: $300 million;
– FY2012: $299.5 million;
– FY2013: Approximately $284 million – sequestration level;
– FY2014: $300 million;
– FY2015: Obama Administration requested $275 million, and the House Interior Appropriations Bill included $300 million.