Policy and Advocacy
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Great Lakes Commission Legislative Priorities for FY 2013
On behalf of its eight member states, the Great Lakes Commission has developed a set of legislative priorities to protect and enhance the quality of our region’s environment and economy. These priorities are presented to Congress at Great Lakes Day 2012, held in Washington DC on February 29, 2012.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is being led by U.S. EPA and managed by a federal Interagency Task Force, formed in 2004 to
improve coordination of federal programs directed at the Great Lakes. It is implementing a comprehensive cleanup strategy developed
in 2005 and based on priorities established by the Great Lakes governors. Restoring the Great Lakes is a longstanding priority for our
region. Regional leaders – including the governors, state agencies, tribes, cities and nongovernmental groups – have worked with Congress
and federal agencies for more than a decade to launch an action-oriented program to address the most serious problems facing
the lakes. The GLRI is the culmination of this work and is now well underway, putting people to work and restoring a vital resource for
our region. Congress provided $475 million for the GLRI in FY 2010. The President’s budget requested $300 million for FY 2011 and
$350 million for FY 2012.
REQUEST: Maintain funding for the GLRI in FY 2012 so our region can sustain progress in the multiyear
effort to restore this national treasure and leverage its benefits to create jobs, stimulate economic
development and revitalize our regional and national economy.
AIS and Asian Carp Prevention
Federal action is needed to protect the Great Lakes – and other regions of the country – against invasions by harmful, non-native species,
including Asian carp. Congress should maintain funding for the GLRI and base agency programs to ensure full implementation of the Asian
Carp Control Strategy Framework and other prevention and control measures to guard against the imminent threat from Asian carp. The
Army Corps of Engineers should expedite the study of options for separating the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. In addition,
the Commission urges Congress and the Administration to implement an effective federal ballast water management program that harmonizes
U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. EPA and state regulations and prevents the introduction of invasive species via ballast water. Legislation is also
needed to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species via the trade in live organisms and other vectors. Congress should provide
full funding for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s successful sea lamprey control program.
REQUEST: Provide funding to expedite efforts to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. Provide
support for effective invasive species prevention programs.
Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Infrastructure
Aging wastewater infrastructure allows the release of inadequately treated sewage into local waterways every year. Sewage discharges continue
to close Great Lakes beaches, threaten public health and damage local economies. Similarly, degraded drinking water infrastructure is
a costly challenge for many communities. The Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs assist states and
local communities in upgrading water infrastructure.
REQUEST: Provide funding for the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water SRFs in FY 2012.
Past Advocacy Activities