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Huizenga, Upton help introduce Great Lakes restoration legislation

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation in Washington introduced the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 on Friday, July 26.

Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, D-Michigan, along with Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, and Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and others in Michigan’s delegation introduced the act, which is co-sponsored by a litany of other senators and representatives on both sides of the aisle.

The GLRIA of 2019 would extend funding for the Great Lakes through 2026. The current act is set to expire in 2021. The new act would raise funding from $300 million 2021 to $375 million in 2022, rising by $25 million each year until 2026, when it will reach $475 million.

The funding goes toward cleaning up the Great Lakes and fighting invasive species like Asian carp, among other things. Through a media release, several Michigan officials stressed the importance of protecting the Great Lakes.

“Protecting our Great Lakes has always been and will always be one of my top priorities in Congress,” Upton said. “Bordering Lake Michigan, we simply have one of the most beautiful districts in the country, so we should do everything we can to support our Great Lakes.

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act would provide critical funding to maintain our beaches, shorelines and natural waters, improve water quality, fight invasive species, and restore the ecosystem.”

Huizenga added that the administration of President Donald Trump supports the initiative as well.

“After speaking with the President earlier this year in West Michigan, it is clear that there is support for the GLRI in both Congress and at the White House,” he said. “By accelerating the cleanup of legacy pollution, taking greater action against invasive species, and increasing habitat restoration, this bipartisan legislation will further strengthen the ecology as well as the economy of the Great Lakes.”

Stabenow said the bipartisan backing of the act is a signal of its previous success.

“This initiative has proven results which is why both Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate are behind this bill,” she said. “With these positive results and given continued threats to our water, it’s a no-brainer to continue investing in the health of our Great Lakes and waterways.”

Peters added that the economic impact of the Great Lakes is a crucial asset to be protected.

“From restoring habitats to combating invasive species, I’ve seen firsthand the impacts the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has on our waters, our land, and our communities,” said Senator Peters. “I am proud to support this legislation to protect the Great Lakes, which are an economic driver for the nation and source of drinking water for millions of people.”

This article appeared in the Holland Sentinel on July 30, 2019. 

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