In The News
Weekly Column: Canada Should Join US in Prioritizing The Great Lakes
Washington, March 21, 2023
The ecological health of the Great Lakes is directly tied to the economic health of communities along the lakeshore, across our state, and frankly around the nation. The Great Lakes serve as the primary source of drinking water for more than 40 million people and lay the foundation for $6 trillion in economic activity between the United States and Canada. With that in mind, last week, I led a bipartisan effort with Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY) requesting that President Biden press our Canadian friends to increase their financial support for preserving the Great Lakes.
During my time in Congress, I have led the charge to fund a bipartisan program known as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). This program helps strengthen the economy and the ecology of not only the lakes themselves, but the entire Great Lakes Basin. This funding accelerates the cleanup of legacy pollution, combats invasive species, and helps restore wildlife and wetlands. For FY2024, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has an authorized level of $425 million. By comparison, the Government of Canada committed just $32.97 million between 2017-2022 combined. This disparity is simply too large.
Data from two separate universities here in Michigan demonstrates the positive impact of the GLRI. A 2018 analysis by the University of Michigan found that each $1 invested through the GLRI generated an economic return of $3.35. In 2020, a Grand Valley State University study found that the GLRI impact on Muskegon Lake increased recreational activity by $27.9 million annually.
Investing in the Great Lakes makes good economic and ecological sense. I have successfully challenged both Republican and Democrat Administrations to fully fund the GLRI. The health of the Great Lakes is vital to our quality of life as well as our economic future and I am proud to lead this bipartisan effort calling on Canada to step up their financial support of the Great Lakes.
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