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Congressional Reauthorization of Great Lakes Initiative Requested
Michigan Ag Connection - 06/25/2019

Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a request to Congress on behalf of the State, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reauthorize the Federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for the next five years at $475 million per year.

Governor Whitmer wrote to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Chairwoman Grace F. Napolitano, D-CA, Ranking Member Bruce Westerman, R-AR, and Members of the Subcommittee. The letter requests Congress reauthorize the GLRI for five years at a $175 million per-year increase from the $300 million per year appropriation the GLRI has received from 2011-2019.

"Our iconic five Great Lakes define Michigan. These bodies of water hold 21 percent of the world's freshwater, 84 percent of our country's fresh surface water, and support over one million jobs," said Whitmer. "Our state government and local communities continue to realize the positive impacts of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative on our economy, our citizens, and our environment; our successes are clear evidence as to why the program should be reauthorized and fully funded."

A wide variety of programs in EGLE and DNR are supported by the GLRI, including infrastructure related to The Great Lakes and the Aquatic Invasive Species program.

Earlier this year, Governor Whitmer along with four Great Lakes governors expressed their opposition to a provision in President Trump's FY2020 budget, which proposed a 90% cut to GLRI funding. Following that statement, President Trump reversed the proposed cuts.

The GLRI is a multi-agency collaboration that provides funding to 16 federal organizations to strategically target the biggest threats to The Great Lakes ecosystem and to accelerate progress toward achieving long term goals, including ensuring safe sources of drinking water; providing safe water for recreation, including the catching and consumption of fish; delisting of federal Areas of Concern (AOCs); and protecting habitats and native populations from harmful algal blooms and invasive species. EGLE, DNR, and local communities in Michigan receive GLRI funds for various projects, including to remediate AOCs.

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