Legislation Introduced to Extend Great Lakes Protections

By GLSR Staff  |  Latest News, Maritime Initiatives
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2024, which extends this critical program for another five years through 2031 and increases its annual funding. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is the most significant investment ever made to restore and protect our Great Lakes.

“Wisconsin’s Great Lakes are integral to our state’s identity and our Made in Wisconsin economy. When we invest in restoring and preserving these invaluable resources, we are investing in the health and economic future of Wisconsin families,” said Senator Baldwin. “Whether it’s transporting goods, attracting tourists and outdoor enthusiasts to cities across the state to recreate, or providing a safe source of drinking water for Wisconsinites, we rely on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior to keep our state moving forward. I am proud to once again lead this bipartisan legislation that carries on Wisconsin’s legacy of responsible stewardship and ensures generations to come can enjoy America’s Fresh Coasts.”

Since its start in 2010, the GLRI has:

  • Funded more than 7,500 projects totaling more than $3 billion
  • 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
  • Restored wildlife habitat over thousands of miles of rivers and waterways

One independent economic study found that for every dollar the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative invests, it produces an additional $3.35 of economic activity. Last year, Senator Baldwin celebrated the largest cleanup project to ever be implemented under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative with the $275 million investment she helped secure to clean up the Milwaukee Estuary. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, more than $650 million in GLRI funding has made over 1,105 projects possible throughout Wisconsin’s Great Lakes basin.

Senator Baldwin has been a strong supporter of the GLRI program, leading the introduction and passage of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019, and as a member of the Appropriations Committee, works to secure continued funding in the annual budget process.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2024 would increase funding levels from $475 million in 2026 to $500 million from 2027 through 2031.

This legislation is led by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) and also supported by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Todd Young (R-IN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), Gary Peters (D-MI), John Fetterman (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Bob Casey (D-PA).

 

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