Yikes! Rumor has it that Congress has decided to dash out of town for summer recess a week early – next week to be exact – July 25! This is grave news for the Great Lakes at a time when we were seeing a lot of momentum for our issues from approval of a strong national ballast standard in the House, to the introduction of the Great Lakes Legacy Act and the signing of the Great Lakes Compact by all eight states.
The Senate has less than two weeks to approve the Coast Guard Bill that will enact our first ever ballast standard that will help staunch the bleed of funds from our eight states into attempts to modify the damage of invasive species on our economy and ecology. Both houses have yet to approve a new and improved Great Lakes Legacy Act reauthorization which is vital to turning around our 31 areas of concern. And when will Congress have time to ratify the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway Compact, that promises to prevent diversion of water to the heat stricken A/C Belt?
The problem is that we are entering election season and unlike duck or deer season there is no end in sight. From August to November, Congress will be caught up in the national race for President as well as House, Senate and Gubernatorial races. Party divisions will rear their ugly heads and legislation will stall. Once a new Congress convenes in January they will await signals from the new President to find out his priorities before setting forth on agendas such as ours.
We are so close to reaching some significant milestones, yet this summer recess threatens all our efforts.