Senators Stabenow, Peters Announce Over $1 Billion to Protect Great Lakes

Investments Will Help Combat Asian Carp, Improve Water Quality in Great Lakes

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters today announced new funding and support that will bolster ongoing efforts to protect the Great Lakes. The end-of-year spending bill, which will fund the federal government through September 2016, includes $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Initiative is a multi-year plan to restore and preserve the Great Lakes by eliminating toxins, combating invasive species, restoring habitats, and promoting the general health of the Lakes. Because of Sens. Stabenow and Peters’ efforts, this bill not only funds the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, it also formally establishes the program into law. The end-of-year spending bill also directs the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite ongoing work and establish emergency procedures to prevent Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan. Finally, this legislation includes over $1 billion in funding for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. Both Senators Stabenow and Peters worked to include these investments and authorities in the bill.

“Just like generations before us, it is our responsibility to protect and preserve the Great Lakes,” said Senator Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “From Asian carp to water contamination, these kind of robust, bipartisan commitments from Congress will help communities in Michigan combat the numerous threats that face our Great Lakes. Michigan’s economy relies on the Great Lakes’ multi-billion dollar fishing, boating, and tourism industries, and this critical support will help protect those jobs and our Michigan way of life.”

“The Great Lakes are a vital economic engine for Michigan, driving our state’s tourism, agricultural and commercial shipping industries, and supporting more than half a million jobs,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “These resources will help continue to protect the Great Lakes from serious threats ranging from industrial pollution to invasive species, and ensure the Great Lakes are healthy for the communities that rely on them for years to come.”

Under the end-of-year spending bill, Congress will provide $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative over the next year. Also included is $1.25 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which supports Great Lakes navigation projects. Senators Stabenow and Peters also played a critical role in giving the Army Corps of Engineers the authority to take immediate action to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam, a crucial chokepoint in the Chicago waterway system.