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House bill seeks to extend the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Jan 9, 2015

Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes subject to clean-up by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Credit User airbutchie / flickr.com

A proposal to continue a wide-ranging Great Lakes cleanup program has been resurrected in Congress after falling short last month.

Rep. David Joyce, R-OH, introduced the bill Thursday. It would extend the soon-to-expire Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for another five years and authorize spending $300 million annually.

The GLRI was established in 2010 by President Obama with the following objectives (according to the Great Lakes Restoration website):

  • To clean up Great Lakes "areas of concern"
  • To prevent and control invasive species
  • To reduce nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful/nuisance algal blooms
  • To restore habitat to protect native species

According to a written statement released by Joyce:

"GLRI is the most significant restoration effort to date for the Great Lakes and it is crucial that it be authorized into law, so that these programs can continue. The passing of this legislation sends a clear message that the Great Lakes are worth protecting."

So far, officials say the initiative has appropriated $1.6 billion for over 2,000 clean-up projects in eight states.

Joyce sponsored a similar bill in last year's lame duck session of Congress. It won House approval but died in the Senate through inaction.

- Ari Sandberg, Michigan Radio Newsroom