The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 will reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is set to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2021, for another five years 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) joined their colleagues on the Senate Great Lakes Task Force to introduce bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and expand funding for the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 will reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is set to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2021, for another five years. The bill increases the current authorization level from $300 million to $375 million in Fiscal Year 2022 and increases funding by $25 million per year until it reaches $475 million in Fiscal Year 2026.

In addition to Klobuchar and Smith, the Great Lakes Task Force is led by co-chairs, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

"The Great Lakes are a national treasure and vital to the economy and environment in Minnesota and our entire country," said Klobuchar. "The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) has a proven track record of cleaning up toxic substances, fighting invasive species, and restoring wildlife habitat. This bill will ensure that the GLRI continues supporting our shipping and fishing industries while pursuing projects that keep our water clean and clear. As one of the vice-chairs of the Great Lakes Task Force, I look forward to continuing this important work to protect the Great Lakes for generations to come."

“For thousands of years people have treasured Lake Superior and the rest of the Great Lakes chain. From the Native American communities that’ve utilized resources and long lived near them, to hunters, fishers, traders, shippers, and tourists, they are important to many,” said Smith. “And for the sake of Minnesota’s economy, tourism, and natural resources, we should be putting more support into restoring the Great Lakes. I’m glad to press this bipartisan effort to protect and restore these waters.”

“This Initiative has proven results which is why both Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate are behind this bill,” said Stabenow. “With these positive results and given continued threats to our water, it’s a no-brainer to continue investing in the health of our Great Lakes and waterways.”

“I’m pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill. GLRI is successful public-private partnership that has helped address the greatest threats to the Great Lakes, including harmful algal blooms, invasive species, pollution, and contamination. Despite the program’s success, there is more work to be done,” said Portman. “Lake Erie supports fishing and tourism industries totaling nearly $13 billion and is a top tourist destination in Ohio. With 11 million people depending on Lake Erie for their drinking water and hundreds of thousands of Ohioans depending upon the Lake for jobs, we must continue to protect our Great Lakes for the economic and environmental well-being of our region.”

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has earned bipartisan support and is critical for the health of our region, our communities, and our clean water resources. It helps us clean up polluted sites, restore water quality and combat invasive species,” said Baldwin. “Preserving the Great Lakes is not just an environmental goal - it is an economic necessity for Wisconsin, and making stronger, long-term investments in GLRI will better help us ensure that our Great Lakes are protected and preserved for generations to come.”

Since its inception, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has tripled the successful cleanup and delisting of Areas of Concern throughout the country, reduced phosphorus runoff and the threat of harmful algal blooms, controlled and stopped the advancement of invasive species, and restored wildlife habitat over thousands of miles of rivers and waterways. Since 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided more than $2.5 billion to fund 4,706 projects throughout the Great Lakes region.

The legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Todd Young (R-IN). Led in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Marcy Captur (D-OH), 38 members of the House of Representatives are cosponsors of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019.