WASHINGTON, D.C. – After the release of President Obama’s budget proposal which recommends a reduction in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) from $300 million to $250 million, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following statement:
“Last summer’s water crisis in Toledo underscores the critical need to protect and restore our Great Lakes,” Brown said. “Now is not the time to reduce vital resources that promote the health of the Great Lakes. I am committed to fully funding restoration efforts in order to protect Ohio’s drinking water and the thousands of fishing, boating, and recreation jobs that are dependent on clean and safe waters.”
Brown, the first Ohioan on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 40 years, has worked to secure federal funding to reduce phosphorus runoff and has introduced a series of proposals to improve water quality. Last month, Brown joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden; U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee; and officials from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to announce $17.5 million to improve water quality in Lake Erie. The funding was through the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – which Brown helped establish in the 2014 Farm Bill – and will aid the Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative – a partnership among Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana – help farmers implement conservation practices that reduce the flow of phosphorus, which contributes to harmful algal blooms that comprise water quality. The funding follows more than $3 million in funding, which Brown helped secure for Ohio.
In September 2014, Brown reintroduced the Clean Water Affordability Act, which would direct additional funding to communities in Ohio to eliminate combined sewer overflows, which are a contributing factor in harmful algal blooms. Brown first introduced this legislation with former Senator George V. Voinovich in 2008 and worked with local officials across Ohio to fine-tune the bill.