Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act signed into law, to increase funding for local projects

Environment

FILE – In this April 6, 2017 file photo, strong winds send huge waves at the Lake Michigan shoreline at South Haven Michigan. A decade-old program that has pumped $2.7 billion into healing long-term injuries to the Great Lakes environment has received authorization from Congress to continue another five years. The U.S. Senate voted unanimously Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, to extend the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which the House did earlier this year. (Mark Bugnaski/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP, File)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Legislation to help boost funding for the Great Lakes has been signed into law.

The United States Government has officially signed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 into law. The legislation was officially passed on Jan. 5, 2021 after being signed by the President of the United States Donald Trump.

The Act will amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

It will also continue to fund the Initiative for five years and increase the program’s annual funding from $300 million to $475 million by 2026.

Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition including New York, Director Laura Rubin shared that this will help support the 30 million people who rely on the Great Lakes for a multitude of reasons.

“This is a huge victory for the more than 30 million people who rely on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, health, jobs, recreation, and quality of life. Over the past decade, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been producing results for communities across the region, but serious threats remain. This bill recognizes the work we have left to do, and allows President-elect Biden and Congress to boost funding to tackle these threats before they get worse and more expensive to solve.”

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative invests in local projects across the country, including New York State. These projects include the clean-up of toxic pollution, fight invasive species, reduce runoff from cities and farms and restore habitats. To date, the initiative has supported over 5.4 thousand projects.

H.R.4031- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 was originally introduced on July 25, 2019 by Ohio Representative David Joyce. It was received by the Senate on February 10, 2020, passed on December 20 and was presented to President Donald Trump on December 24, 2020.

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