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GLIN==> Group Praises Passage of Great Lakes Legacy Act

Title: Group Praises Passage of Great Lakes Legacy Act

Alliance for the Great Lakes

Monday, Sept. 28, 2008
Cameron Davis, 312-375-2004, cdavis@greatlakes.org

Alliance Praises Passage of Great Lakes Legacy Act

Federal legislation to clean up toxic hot spots in the Great Lakes has been reauthorized by the U.S. House and Senate.

The Great Lakes Legacy Act will provide $54 million a year for two years to clean up contaminated sediment and restore aquatic habitat in the Great Lakes.

The Alliance praised the action Monday.

"We need to leave a legacy of a clean, healthy Great Lakes to future generations, not a legacy of pollution," said Alliance President Cameron Davis, who helped write the act and testified in favor of it before a House subcommittee in May.

The Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly Thursday, and it was adopted by the House Sunday with a vote of 411-9. The bill now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign it.

The House had passed an earlier bill that sought to strengthen the Legacy Act -- first enacted in 2002 -- by authorizing $150 million annually for the program through 2013. Objections from U.S. Sen Coburn (R-Okla.) about increased spending authorizations across the board resulted in passage of the act at current levels of funding, however, with vows to seek increased funding authorizations again next year.

Still, Davis praised Sens. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Reps. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.) and James Oberstar (D-Minn.) for their work on the legislation.

The Legacy Act targets for cleanup a U.S.-Canadian list of more than 40 toxic hot spots, or “Areas of Concern” in the Great Lakes that was established 20 years ago.

The contaminants harbored in these locations – PCBs, dioxin, mercury and PAHs – contaminate fish and the people who eat them. Studies have found links to cancer and reproductive problems in animals and people, as well as lowered IQ’s and developmental delays in children.

To date, five cleanup projects have been completed under the act, with a new one announced in Milwaukee to clean up the Kinnickinnic River. The U.S. EPA has said preparations for that project are to begin this fall.

Susan Campbell
Communications Manager
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Visit http://www.greatlakes.org