Brown Joins Portman, Bipartisan Great Lakes Task Force in Push for Full Funding Of GLRI

Brown, Portman Secured Full Funding for GLRI in March

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), and bipartisan members of the Senate Great Lakes Task force in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to request full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). GLRI is a highly successful program that has jumpstarted restoration efforts to protect, maintain, and restore the chemical, biological, and physical integrity of the Great Lakes. Earlier this year, Brown and Portman announced full funding of $300 million for the GLRI in the government funding measure signed into law in March.

We are requesting full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) at $300 million,” wrote the Senators.  “As you are aware, the President’s FY2019 budget request cut funding for the GLRI by 90% after proposing to eliminate funding for the program in the FY2018 budget request. We are concerned that these proposed cuts will reverse the progress that has been made to protect and improve the Great Lakes, the world’s largest freshwater body, which supplies drinking water to millions of people and contributes billions of dollars to the economy each year. We appreciate your past support of the GLRI and look forward to working with you to ensure that the program remains fully funded.”

Last year, the President proposed eliminating GLRI and the Brown and Portman worked together to ensure it was fully funded in this appropriations bill for the rest of the fiscal year. President Trump’s most recent budget proposed cutting GLRI by 90 percent.

 

Full text of Brown’s letter can be found below.

Dear Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Udall:

As the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies considers FY2019 appropriations requests, we are requesting full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) at $300 million. As you are aware, the President’s FY2019 budget request cut funding for the GLRI by 90% after proposing to eliminate funding for the program in the FY2018 budget request. We are concerned that these proposed cuts will reverse the progress that has been made to protect and improve the Great Lakes, the world’s largest freshwater body, which supplies drinking water to millions of people and contributes billions of dollars to the economy each year.

In December 2016, Congress reauthorized GLRI as part of the Waster Infrastructure Improvements for the Nations Act (P.L. 114-322) for five years at $300 million. With your help, Congress has consistently fully funded GLRI since its inception in 2010. Most recently, H.R. 1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-141), fully funded GLRI despite the President’s budget request to eliminate funding for the program.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the largest investment in the Great Lakes’ health, ecosystem, and water quality. Since its inception in 2010, $1.6 billion has been used to fund over 3,000 projects to combat the greatest threats to the Great Lakes, including invasive species, harmful algal blooms and loss of fish and wildlife habitats. The program has leveraged more than $475 million in nonfederal dollars from a wide range of partners, including nonprofit organizations, states, communities, educational institutions, and private companies. In targeting Areas of Concern, the program has successfully addressed problems that directly impact the public health and safety including beach closings, restrictions on fish and wildlife consumption, dredging restrictions, and problems with drinking water taste, odor and consumption. The Great Lakes provide drinking water for 40 million people, contribute $10 billion in tourism each year, and support hundreds of thousands of jobs across the region.

We appreciate your past support of the GLRI and look forward to working with you to ensure that the program remains fully funded. Thank you for your consideration of our request.

 

###