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GLIN==> Senators Levin, Stabenow Sponsor Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act
- Subject: GLIN==> Senators Levin, Stabenow Sponsor Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act
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- Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 16:59:11 -0500
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See http://levin.senate.gov/newsroom/release.cfm?id=232928 or
Senators Levin, Stabenow Sponsor Great Lakes Environmental Restoration
March 7, 2005
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Debbie Stabenow,
D-Mich., joined five of their Senate colleagues last week in sponsoring
bipartisan legislation to increase funding for Great Lakes ecosystem
restoration. The Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act, S. 508, would
authorize $6 billion over 10 years for new Great Lakes grants. The
legislation would also codify into law the Great Lakes Federal Interagency
Task Force, created by Executive Order in May 2004, to strengthen
coordination of federal Great Lakes activities.
"While the Great Lakes made strides after environmental protections
were put in place 30 years ago, progress in the last 15 years has been very
slow," said Levin. "This legislation would provide the federal commitment of
funding and resources to keep pace with the restoration needs of the Great
Lakes. The Great Lakes are a unique and valuable resource and Congress must
act to enhance their restoration and protection."
"As a Michigan senator, I feel a special responsibility to protect the
Great Lakes. They are not only a source of clean drinking water for more
than 30 million people but are also an integral part of Michigan's heritage
and its economy," Stabenow said.
"Ultimately, we need to make restoration of the Great Lakes a national
priority, similar to what was done for the Florida Everglades, and this
legislation moves us in that direction," she said. "By setting priorities
for restoration projects, and providing essential funding, this important
legislation will help restore and protect our great national treasures - the
The Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act would do the following:
Grants. The bill would restore the Great Lakes ecosystem by
authorizing up to $600 million annually for 10 years in competitive grants
administered by Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Great Lakes National
Program Office. These grants would be in addition to the existing federal
efforts in the Great Lakes. The Program Office, in consultation with the
Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Advisory Board, would award grants to
states, municipalities, and other applicants. At least one project in each
Great Lake state would be funded each year. Every Great Lakes state would
receive a minimum of 6 percent of the total available funding each year, and
no state could receive more than 30 percent of the total funding each year.
Additionally, grants would have to address one or more of the designated
Great Lakes restoration priorities designated by the Advisory Board.
Advisory Board. The governor-led Great Lakes Environmental Restoration
Advisory Board would be comprised of Great Lakes governors, mayors and local
officials, and federal agencies, along with Native American tribes,
environmentalists, industry representatives, and Canadian observers. This
Advisory Board would determine the priority issues for grants issued under
the Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Grant Program and advise the
Program Office on the grant proposals that should be funded.
Interagency Task Force. The bill would codify the Great Lakes Federal
Agency Task Force, created by Executive Order, to strengthen coordination of
federal Great Lakes activities. The EPA would lead the Council and
participants would include the key federal agencies involved in Great Lakes
work such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Army Corps of
Engineers, and Fish and Wildlife Service. The bill would also codify the
existing Great Lakes Regional Collaboration process to ensure the
preparation and oversight of the development and implementation of the
comprehensive restoration action plan.
Monitoring. The Great Lakes National Program Office, in coordination
with other federal agencies and Canada, would develop indicators of water
quality and related environmental factors in the Great Lakes, as well as a
network to monitor those indicators regularly throughout the Great Lakes
basin. The Program Office would report to Congress on the changes in water
quality after initial benchmark data is collected within four years, and
again every two years thereafter.
Senator Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, introduced the Great Lakes Environmental
Restoration Act. DeWine and Levin are co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes
Task Force. Other original cosponsors include Senators Evan Bayh, D-Ind.,
Richard Lugar, R-Ind., Herb Kohl, D-Wisc., and Mark Dayton, D-Minn.