WASHINGTON – This week, a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers introduced the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2019, legislation that would reauthorize the GLRI for another five years and increase authorized funding for the program from $300 million annually to $475 million annually by fiscal year 2026. The GLRI Act of 2019 (H.R. 4031) was introduced by 13 Senators and 40 Representatives, including Ohio’s own Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dave Joyce (OH-14), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Steve Stivers (OH-15), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Bob Gibbs (OH-07), and Mike Turner (OH-10).
“As a life-long resident of Northeast Ohio, swimming and fishing in Lake Erie as a kid are still some of my favorite memories,” said Rep. Dave Joyce. “I was proud to share the importance of protecting the Great Lakes with my children, and now I have the honor of advocating for the Lakes in Congress. I’m proud to introduce the GLRI Act of 2019 with so many of my colleagues from Ohio and I look forward to continuing to work with them to protect this national treasure and preserve it for both current and future generations.”
“Since its inception, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has made the Great Lakes healthier and our local communities stronger,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur. “That’s why it’s my pleasure to introduce the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 alongside my colleague David Joyce. This bipartisan and bicameral bill will reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the most essential program in the effort to protect and restore our most precious resource: the Great Lakes. This legislation doubles down on federal investment in the Great Lakes because we know how effective the GLRI has been. Across Lake Erie and the Great Lakes Region, the GLRI is at the center of fighting invasive species, preventing, controlling and predicting Harmful Algal Blooms, and reinvigorating our watershed and ecosystems.”
“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 Senator Rob 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.”
“Lake Erie is one of Ohio’s most important natural resources and we must do all we can to keep it healthy for the families, boaters, and anglers that use the lake every day,” said Senator Sherrod Brown. “We do that by ensuring the GLRI is operating at its full strength so communities can continue their important work to keep Lake Erie clean today and for the next generation.”
“Starting in my early years as a Boy Scout, I learned first-hand the value that a healthy environment can contribute to our communities. It is our duty not only as lawmakers but as citizens to preserve and protect the wilderness, wildlife, species, and public lands,” Rep. Steve Stivers said. “I am proud to join the rest of the Ohio Delegation to cosponsor the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019. We must continue working together towards a toxin- and pollutant- free Great Lakes in order for individuals from all over to enjoy.”
“The Great Lakes are our region’s most precious resource. In the face of climate change, it’s critical we do everything in our power to safeguard the long-term health and well-being of the world’s largest source of fresh water,” said Rep. Tim Ryan. “Lake Erie alone supports more than 117,000 full time jobs and provides clean drinking water to 3 million Ohioans. I am happy to join my colleagues in the Ohio delegation in this effort to ensure the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has a reliable source of funding to carry out its important mission.”
“The Great Lakes are some of America’s most impressive and vital natural resources,” said Rep. Mike Turner. “It is critically important that we maintain strong funding for this initiative so that we can continue to protect and cherish one of Ohio’s – and the nation’s – most beautiful natural treasures.”
“There is no question the Great Lakes are an important environmental and economic resource for the United States,” said Rep. Bob Gibbs. “So many American communities rely on the lakes for drinking water, jobs, recreation, and more. While the Great Lakes may have a troubled environmental history, recent efforts to restore and protect them have been successful. The GLRI is a major factor in those efforts, focusing on projects that will ultimately leave the Great Lakes in a better condition for future generations. I’m proud to continue our efforts ensuring the GLRI remains an essential element in repairing and preserving the lakes.”
“We have a responsibility to pass on a healthy and sustainable environment to future generations,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is vital to northeast Ohio’s economy, providing the resources needed to clean up our greatest natural resource – Lake Erie. This bill will help combat harmful algal blooms and protect against invasive species like Asian Carp, and avoid destruction of the Great Lakes ecosystem. I’m proud to cosponsor legislation that protects our drinking water, fisheries, and farmland while putting the overall health of our communities first.
The Great Lakes are a critical part of Northeast Ohio’s economy, and for every dollar that we spend protecting them, the GLRI generates more than three dollars in economic development for our region,” said Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. “ I am pleased to join my colleagues in supporting this bill that will help keep the Great Lakes healthy and resilient for years to come.”
Since its inception in 2010, the GLRI has significantly contributed to the protection and preservation of the Great Lakes which provide more than 1.5 million jobs, supply 90% of our nation’s fresh surface water, support over 3,500 species of plants and animals, and generate $62 billion in wages every year. Specifically, the program has helped triple the successful cleanup and delisting of Areas of Concern, restore 50,000 acres of coastal wetlands across the region, reduce phosphorus runoff and the threat of harmful algal blooms, control invasive species, and double farmland acres under nutrient conservation. All of this progress has resulted in economic returns of more than 3-to-1 across the region.
For more information about the GLRI, visit https://www.glri.us.