Great Lakes & the US Congress
I hope everyone had a great Labor Day and enjoyed the beauty all around us. How about those storms? Pretty incredible.
Over the weekend I was emailed about a few pieces of legislation in the US House and I wanted to put it out there for any/all feedback. Can anyone add any insight to these? Are they good? Bad? Bi-Partisan? Insignificant? We want your thoughts and help understanding more of the laws that may directly impact our beautiful Great Lakes and fresh water.
Here are the links and a quick bit about each piece of legislation:
H.R. 6147: The Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2019, the Interior Appropriations bill contains a total of $35.3 billion, funding programs that protect and make the best use of domestic natural resources, that provide investments in infrastructure such as improvements for drinking water systems, and that help protect against and fight devastating wildfires. The bill also makes strides to rein in harmful regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Furthermore, it includes full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has made great strides in protecting our beautiful Great Lakes. Since 2010, GLRI has shown real and measurable results, from restoring native habitats, to combating invasive species, to improving water quality. This funding is vital in keeping the Great Lakes healthy and I applaud my colleagues in both the House and Senate for passing this important legislation.
H.R. 8: Water Resource Development Act of 2018, also known as WRDA, is the vehicle by which Congress authorizes critical improvements to our nation’s water resource infrastructure including ports, locks, dams, and flood protection. The bill included an amendment authored by Congressman Mitchell (MI-10) and Congressman Davis (IL-13) that will protect the Great Lakes from invasive species like Asian carp by requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite completion of the Brandon Road Study. The Brandon Road Lock and Dam system is one of the last stops along the Des Plaines River keeping Asian carp out of Lake Michigan and the entire Great Lakes system. I am proud to have supported this vital legislation so that we can continue to keep invasive species like Asian Carp out of our Great Lakes.
H.R. 5895: The Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, a bill which invests in many programs that help veterans, invests in American infrastructure, and advances safe nuclear storage far from the Great Lakes. Specifically, this bill invests in American water resources infrastructure through the Army Corps of Engineers, which has oversight of critical projects, such as upgrades to the Soo Locks. It also repeals the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, and upholds the balanced, federal-state partnership that has regulated our waterways for over 40 years under the Clean Water Act. Finally, this bill continues congressional efforts to reopen the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada, which will move nuclear waste off the shores of the Great Lakes to a permanent secure location.