Congress approves Great Lakes Legacy Act!
The Great Lakes Legacy Act passed Congress today when the House of Representatives voted to accept Senate amendments to the original House legislation, H.R. 1070.
Passing the legislation has been a key component of the Great Lakes Commission’s Great Lakes Program to Ensure Environmental and Economic Prosperity. This is an important victory for the Great Lakes and represents many years of hard work by an array of groups, including environmental organizations, Great Lakes industries, and citizen advisory councils in the Areas of Concern.
Special thanks go to the congressional sponsors of the legislation, Rep. Vernon Ehlers and Sen. Carl Levin, as well as the other members of the Great Lakes Congressional Task Force.
The legislation authorizes $50 million a year for five years to monitor and remediate contaminated sediments in Great Lakes Areas of Concern or to prevent further contamination; $3 million a year for five years for research and development of innovative technologies for remediating contaminated sediments; and $1 million a year for five years for public information efforts in the Areas of Concern.
The legislation requires a 35 percent nonfederal cost share and requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to submit a report to Congress on the actions, time periods and resources necessary to fulfill the agency’s oversight responsibilities for Remedial Action Plans in the Areas of Concern. The legislation is to be implemented by the U.S. EPA-Great Lakes National Program Office.
Sources on Capitol Hill anticipate that the President will sign the legislation into law. Efforts now turn to securing the necessary appropriations implement actions authorized in the legislation.