Federal Budget Supports Great Lakes, Clean Water Funding

Congress increases funding to Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by $20 million

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (December 17, 2019) — Great Lakes restoration and clean water programs received support in the final federal budget, released last night by the U.S. House and Senate. The fiscal year 2020 budget increases funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative—the first increase for the program in ten years— as well as provides new investments in clean water and drinking water infrastructure programs.

Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition said:

“This budget is good news for the Great Lakes and the 30 million Americans who depend on them for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. Federal investments are producing results, but serious threats remain, such as polluted runoff, invasive species, and toxic pollution. This budget acknowledges those threats and the work that we still need to do.

“We thank the Great Lakes congressional delegation – especially members on the House and Senate appropriations committee – for continuing to make the Great Lakes a national priority, and for ensuring that restoration efforts remain on track. We look forward to working with Congress in the new year to ensure that the Great Lakes remains a bi-partisan priority.”

The final fiscal year 2020 budget was passed by the House on Tuesday. The Senate is expected to pick it up later this week. The budget includes:

  •  $320 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to restore habitat, clean up toxic pollution, and fight invasive species—a $20 million increase over fiscal year 2019 and the first increase since the program’s second year in existence in 2010.
  •  $1.64 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to help communities fix and upgrade wastewater infrastructure—a $55 million decrease over fiscal year 2019.
  •  $1.13 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to help communities fix and upgrade drinking water infrastructure—a nearly $38 million decrease over fiscal year 2019.
  • An additional $14 million ($25 million total) to protect and enhance Asian carp activities to prevent them from entering and establishing in the Great Lakes and for Asian carp activities in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including its sub-basins. Not less than $2,500,000 is to be used for contract fishing.
  • An additional $3 million ($10.6 million total) to fund further research into early detection practices and control technologies critical to slowing and responding to the range expansion of Asian Carp. $3,000,000 is to be used for research on grass carp.

Reductions in traditional infrastructure programs were partially offset by increases to some existing programs as well as a host of newly funded grant programs to help communities deal with water infrastructure, among them:

  •  $25.4 million for grants to small and disadvantaged communities.
  •  $28 million for sewer overflow and stormwater reuse municipal grants.
  •  $3 million for drinking water infrastructure resilience grants.
  • $19.5 million for grants to reduce lead in drinking water.
  • $1 million for water infrastructure workforce development grants.