CONTACT:
Lindsey Bacigal, BacigalL@nwf.org, (734) 887-7113
Jordan Lubetkin, Lubetkin@nwf.org, (734) 904-1589 

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (November 19, 2021)—The U.S. House passed sweeping legislation this morning to help communities prepare for, and adapt to, climate change and restore clean water. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is heralding many of the investments in the Build Back Better Act, which contains the largest federal investment in the nation’s history to confront the climate crisis. The package will now move to the Senate, which is expected to take up the reconciliation process as early as December 1. 

“We applaud the House for taking action. Climate change is here. It is impacting the Great Lakes. It is harming our communities. And it is only going to get worse, if we wait any longer to act,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “The extreme weather, more frequent and severe flooding, and erosion being driven by climate change is straining the region’s inadequate water infrastructure, harming communities, hurting the economy, and jeopardizing the health of people.”  

The Build Back Better Act contains over $550 billion in climate investments to get us to a clean energy future, while helping communities adapt, including: 

  • $6 billion in investments for the conservation, restoration, and protection of our coastal habitats and enhancing the resilience of our coastal communities threatened by climate change. 
  • $10 billion to address the threat of lead in drinking water: 
    • $9 billion for disadvantaged communities and schools. 
    • $970 million for lead remediation in rural communities. 
  • $1.85 billion to address sewer overflows. 
  • $225 million for water assistance programs. 
  • $150 million for individual household decentralized wastewater treatment systems. 
  • Over $27 billion for agriculture programs including farmland conservation, regenerative agriculture, and climate research. 
  • $3 billion for environmental and climate justice block grants. 

Climate change is exacerbating many threats to the Great Lakes and communities, including polluted runoff that causes toxic algal blooms, sewage overflows that close beaches, and flooding that jeopardizes homes, businesses, and communities. 

We encourage the Senate to act swiftly on legislation that confronts the climate crisis and provides the tools and resources communities so desperately need to protect themselves from the devastating economic, environmental and public health impacts of climate change. 

Since 2004, the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has been harnessing the collective power of more than 170 groups representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Learn more at HealthyLakes.org or follow us on Twitter @HealthyLakes. 

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