Senators Stabenow and Peters Introduce Legislation to Extend Great Lakes Protections

Bipartisan Bill Extends the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Increases Funding Levels

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) today introduced the bipartisan Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2024, which extends this critical program for another five years through 2031, and increases annual funding levels from $475 million in 2026 to $500 million from 2027 through 2031.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is the most significant investment ever made to restore and protect our Great Lakes. Senator Stabenow first authored this flagship public-private program in 2010. Support for this popular initiative includes both Democrats and Republicans, House and the Senate members, and leaders from multiple states. The GLRI Act is cosponsored by 12 U.S. Senators and 18 U.S. Representatives, including 8 members from Michigan. The legislation also shares broad support among Great Lakes advocates, including: Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, Great Lakes Commission, Alliance for the Great Lakes, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, American Sportfishing Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, American Great Lakes Ports Association, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Great Lakes Business Network, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Clean Wisconsin, Save the Dunes, Ohio Environmental Council, Ducks Unlimited  and Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

“The creation of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is one of the most important actions of my legislative career.  Since I authored the program in 2010, it has been a proven success story,” said Senator Stabenow. “This bill will ensure the stability and future of the program as we address new emerging threats to our Great Lakes and waters.”

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a proven success, from combatting harmful invasive species to restoring vital waterways and habitats,” said Senator Peters. “We must ensure that it has the resources needed to continue strengthening the Great Lakes for future generations. As a Michigander, I know how critical the Great Lakes are to our state’s economy and way of life, so I’m proud to again help lead the charge to protect this important program.”

"The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the most successful effort to protect and clean up our Great Lakes in U.S. history," said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director of Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “As new challenges arise, like toxic PFAS contamination, invasive species, rapidly warming water temperatures and the impacts of climate change, we must update the GLRI to address these emerging threats head-on. We are excited to work with this bipartisan group of legislators to ensure we pass a robust Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to safeguard our Great Lakes now and for generations to come.”

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has focused federal and nonfederal efforts to stop the spread of carp and other invasive species, restore coastline and habitats connecting our streams and rivers, clean up environmentally damaged Areas of Concern, and prevent future contamination.  

The Great Lakes and its watersheds continue to be stressed by contamination and threats to water quality, and are under increasing pressure from new invasive species, climate change, erosion, and habitat destruction. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ensures that vital efforts to protect our water can continue and that we can address new and emerging threats to our lakes and waterways.