Environment and Great Lakes

Protecting our Great Lakes and Waterways

Senator Debbie Stabenow is the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force and is one of our greatest champions for protecting our Great Lakes and environment. As someone who has lived in Michigan her whole life, Stabenow understands that our Great Lakes and waterways are vital to our economy and our way of life—supporting more than 800,000 Michigan jobs. In fact, the very first piece of legislation Senator Stabenow passed in the Senate banned oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes.

Stabenow authored the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2010 as a member of the Senate Budget Committee. This initiative has been successful in cleaning up our lakes, waterways, and beaches so Michigan families can enjoy swimming, boating and fishing. When the Trump Administration gutted funding for the Great Lakes, Stabenow led a bipartisan coalition to get every penny restored.

Read more about her new bipartisan legislation to expand funding here.

As Chairwoman and later Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, Stabenow authored the 2014 Farm Bill and co-authored the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill continues to be one of the most significant investments in the conservation of our land, water, and Michigan way of life. Through targeted conservation efforts, the Farm Bill protects our Great Lakes and our water quality throughout Michigan, while preserving wildlife habitat to support hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. 

Combatting Threats

Senator Stabenow has been a leader in the fight to stop Asian carp, which pose a grave threat to the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishery and $36 billion recreational boating industry. She authored and passed the Stop Invasive Species Act that required the federal government to take quicker action to stop the spread of Asian carp. Thanks to her leadership, the Army Corps of Engineers released the final comprehensive plan to stop Asian carp at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam — a critical choke point not far from Lake Michigan. Congress can now authorize funding for this critical project and finally advance a long-term solution. Read more about her efforts to combat invasive species here.

Senator Stabenow also wrote and passed legislation that successfully banned personal care products that contain tiny plastic particles that can get through water treatment facilities and harm fish and wildlife. This ban went into effect in 2018.

Taking Real Action on Climate Change

Senator Stabenow knows that climate change is real and is having a serious impact on Michigan. Our lakes are getting warmer, which is bad for our cold-water fish populations but great for invasive species like Asian carp. Our weather is also getting more intense— leading to catastrophic storms and flooding.  Stabenow understands we can and must take real action now to do something about the carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases that are causing climate change.

That’s why as Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and a senior member of Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee and Finance Committee, she has championed polices and initiatives that dramatically reduce carbon emissions, create jobs in renewable energy and clean manufacturing sectors and promote sustainable agriculture. Her bipartisan Farm Bill includes the most ambitious climate-smart agriculture and forestry policies to date.  She has also authored multiple bipartisan bills that will ensure that the United States—not China—is the global leader on advanced transportation technologies like electric and hydrogen vehicles.

Protecting Public Health

Senator Stabenow has been a tireless advocate for public health and the environment in Michigan and across the country. She is making sure every family has access to clean air and clean water and has fought efforts to gut environmental protections.

When the Flint water crisis happened, Senator Stabenow led the passage of a law to provide $170 million for Flint and other communities to repair and replace pipes and provide health care and nutritious food to children and families affected by lead contamination.

Stabenow is deeply concerned about the number of Michigan families and service members who have been exposed to per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS). She has fought hard to secure funding to clean up contaminated sites, study the health impacts of PFAS exposure, and connect homes to safe drinking water supplies. She has also called on the Environmental Protection Agency to establish federal drinking water standards for PFAS.