New Law Would Authorize, Fund Great Lakes’ Cleanup

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New Law Would Authorize, Fund Great Lakes’ Cleanup

Environmental Protection – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) joined Sens. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) on March 4 to introduce the Great Lakes Environmental Protection Act (S. 3073), which would reaffirm Congress' commitment to the groundbreaking Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and continued cleanup of Lake Erie.

Lake Erie, the shallowest and warmest of the Great Lakes, is home to more than half the lake system's fish. Millions of people visit Lake Erie, spending an estimated $1.1 billion a year on lodging, travel and food specifically to catch sport fish like walleye and perch. In total, the lake is estimated to generate $50 billion in economic activity each year.

The bill authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and the appropriation of $475 million per year. The GLRI is an EPA-led, interagency effort to target the most significant problems in the region and jumpstart restoration efforts to protect, maintain, and restore the chemical, biological, and physical integrity of the Great Lakes. This legislation would authorize the GLRI and direct that recommendations of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy of 2005 and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan be considered by the EPA, which determines fund allocation. President Obama's fiscal year 2010 budget provides $475 million for the program.

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