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GLIN==> U.S. House Passes Act to Clean Up Toxic Pollution in Great Lakes

U.S. House Passes Act to Clean Up Toxic Pollution in Great Lakes

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (September 18, 2008) – The Healing Our Waters-Great
Lakes Coalition today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for
passing the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2008, a bill to clean up toxic
pollution around the largest source of surface fresh water in the United

“We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives – especially Reps. James
Oberstar and Vern Ehlers – for passing this important and successful
clean-up program,” said Jeff Skelding, national campaign director for
the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Cleaning up toxic
pollution is essential to our public health, economy and way of life. 
We need the Senate to take quick action like they did with the Compact
and reauthorize this critical program.”

Introduced by Representatives Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) and James Oberstar
(D-Minn.), the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2008 (H.R. 6460) passed by a
vote of 371-20.

Passage of the act comes days after the U.S. EPA lobbied against passage
of the act in a letter submitted to Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and House Transportation
and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar. 

The Legacy Act of 2008 is a top priority for the Healing Our
Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. It is also an essential component of the
comprehensive effort needed to restore the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2008 funds the clean-up of contaminated
sediments in Great Lakes harbors and tributaries. Designated “Areas of
Concern” by the U.S. and Canadian governments, the polluted sites pose
threats to human health and to fish and wildlife populations. 

Of the 31 sites in the United States or shared with Canada, only one
site – Oswego River – has been de-listed since 1987. (A list of U.S.
Areas of Concern in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin is below.)

“We need to speed up cleanups,” said Cameron Davis, president of the
Alliance for the Great Lakes, a coalition member who testified in May
about the need for Legacy Act changes. “We have solutions. It is time to
use them. Fast congressional passage of the legislation will help ensure
that we’re leaving the Great Lakes better for the next generation, not
passing on legacy of pollution.”
The Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2008 reauthorizes the Great Lakes Legacy
Act for five years and increases the authorization of funds from $54
million to $150 million per year. Experts using EPA estimates peg the
total cost of cleaning up the sites at between $1.5 billion and $4.5

According to the Brookings Institution, cleaning up toxic pollution in
the U.S. Areas of Concern will increase coastal property value by at
least $12 billion to $19 billion.

“Cleaning up toxic pollution is good for our economy, good for our
public health and good for our environment,” said Emily Green, director
of Sierra Club's Great Lakes Program, a coalition member active in the
effort to clean up toxic pollution. “We applaud the House’s action and
will work to ensure that Congress adequately funds this important clean
up program so that we can put an end to the serious threats that toxic
pollution poses to people and wildlife in the Great Lakes region.”

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 100
zoos, aquariums, museums, and hunting, fishing, and environmental
organizations representing millions of people, whose common goal is to
restore and protect the Great Lakes.

For more information: http://www.healthylakes.org/

For Immediate Release:
September 18, 2008

Jeff Skelding, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, (202) 797-6893,
Chad Lord, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, (202) 454-3385,
Cameron Davis, Alliance for the Great Lakes, (312) 939-0838 x 222
Emily Green, Sierra Club, (608) 257-4994, emily.green@sierJordan Lubetkin, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, (734)
887-7109 lubetkin@nwf.org	

United States Areas of Concern include:

Waukegan Harbor, Illinois 

Grand Calumet River, Indiana 

Clinton River, Michigan 
Deer Lake, Michigan 
Detroit River, Michigan 
Kalamazoo River, Michigan 
Manistique River, Michigan 
Muskegon Lake, Michigan
River Raisin, Michigan 
Rouge River, Michigan 
Saginaw River and Bay, Michigan 
St. Clair River, Michigan 
St. Marys River, Michigan 
Torch Lake, Michigan 
White Lake, Michigan

Buffalo River, New York 
EighteenMile Creek, New York 
Niagara River, New York 
Oswego River/Harbor, New York 
Rochester Embayment, New York 
St. Lawrence River at Massena, New York 

Ashtabula River, Ohio 
Black River, Ohio 
Cuyahoga River, Ohio 
Maumee River, Ohio 

Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania 

St. Louis River and Bay, Minnesota and Wisconsin 

Lower Green Bay and Fox River, Wisconsin
Menominee River, Wisconsin 
Milwaukee Estuary, Wisconsin 
Sheboygan River, Wisconsin 

*** Please note my new phone number below--(734) 887-7109 . ***

Jordan Lubetkin
Regional Communications Manager
National Wildlife Federation
Great Lakes Natural Resource Center
213 W. Liberty St., Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1398

Phone: (734) 887-7109 
Cell: (734) 904-1589

Inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.
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