Great Lakes Toxic Clean-up Receives Funding Boost from House Committee

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (March 5, 2009) – The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition today applauded the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for tripling the authorization from $54 million to $150 million for a program to clean up toxic pollution in the Great Lakes.

“We applaud Rep. James Oberstar and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for increasing the authorization for this important and successful clean-up program,” said Jeff Skelding, national campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Cleaning up toxic pollution benefits our public health, economy and way of life.”

In addition to authorizing the Great Lakes Legacy Act for $150 million per year for five years, the Water Quality Investment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1262) authorizes $13.8 billion over five years for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $1.8 billion for EPA grants to address combined sewage overflows and storm sewer overflows.

“This bill tackles some of the biggest threats to the lakes, from sewage contamination to toxic pollution,” said Skelding. “The onus in now on the full House and Senate to pass and fund these successful programs so that we can restore the Great Lakes and revive our economy before the problems get worse and the solutions more costly.”

Passage of the act out of committee comes days after President Barack Obama unveiled his 2010 budget. It contains $475 million to restore the Great Lakes – the largest, most serious commitment to Great Lakes restoration in a President’s budget in history.

“Our number one priority is to ensure that the President’s commitment to restore the Great Lakes is matched by Congress,” said Skelding. “Great Lakes restoration and economic recovery go hand-in-hand, and we need to make sure that the momentum being generated in our nation’s capitol translates into results for the millions of people who depend on this vital national resource.”

According to the Brookings Institution, an investment of $26 billion to restore the Great Lakes will lead to at least $50 billion in economic benefit for the region.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 100 zoos, aquariums, museums, and hunting, fishing, and environmental organizations representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes.

For more information: http://healthylakes.org/

For Immediate Release:
March 5, 2009

Contact:
Jeff Skelding, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, (410) 245-8021, jskelding@nwf.org
Chad Lord, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, (202) 454-3385, clord@npca.org
Jordan Lubetkin, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, (734) 887-7109 lubetkin@nwf.org

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