Members of the Great Lakes Congressional delegation are working to ensure that essential Great Lakes programs don’t get slashed in the 2012 federal budget. Yesterday a bipartisan group of 25 U.S. representatives led by Reps. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) sent a letter urging House appropriators to sustain funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
In a letter to House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and Ranking Member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) and Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Chairman Michael Simpson (R-Idaho) and Ranking Member James Moran (D-Va.), federal officials from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin advocated for continued federal investment to restore the Lakes:
“As Members of Congress who support the investment in the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes region, we respectfully request that you include sustained funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as you finalize the Fiscal Year 2012 Interior-Environment Appropriations bill.”
Signatories to the letter include: Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.), John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), John Dingell (D-Mich.), Robert Dold (R-Ill.), Sean Duffy (D-Wis.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Kathleen Hochul (D-N.Y.), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Dan Lipinski (D-Ind.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Betty Sutton (D-Minn.), and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.).
The letter points out that the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $50 million dollar increase for the program in July, bringing the fiscal year 2012 funding level to $300 million. The Senate’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding recommendations is also at $300 million for the current fiscal year.
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has supported the efforts of U.S. House and Senate leaders to maintain restoration funding. Responding to the letter from Great Lakes lawmakers, Jeff Skelding, campaign director for the coalition said:
“The Great Lakes congressional delegation has been instrumental in making Great Lakes restoration a national priority. The letter led by Reps. Sandy Levin (Mich.), John Dingell (Mich.) and Louise Slaughter (N.Y.) underscores the bi-partisan and continuing support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is essential to protect and restore the Lakes that supply drinking water to more than 30 million people. This restoration effort is producing results, but there is more to do. If we cut funding now, it will only cost more later because projects will be harder and more expensive the longer we wait.”
Signatories to the letter deserve a huge thanks for continuing to make restoration a national priority.
Here’s the list of signatories by state. If your member signed on to the letter, please thank him or her. If not, let your representative know how important the Great Lakes are to you – and that you expect their support!
Jesse Jackson, Jr.
John Conyers, Jr.