WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 6, 2019) – As local water bills for home-owners are skyrocketing and people are turning to the federal government to help defray the cost of large water infrastructure projects, more than 100 Great Lakes advocates are gathering in Washington, D.C., to urge the U.S. Congress to boost federal investments in Great Lakes restoration, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and Asian carp prevention.
“Water is a basic need, and every person deserves clean, safe and affordable drinking water,” said Chad Lord, policy director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which organizes the annual gathering in the nation’s capital. “We know federal investments produce results. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has made progress cleaning up toxic hot spots, ensuring beaches are safe to swim at, and controlling invasive species. But we have more work to do.”
“This is especially true in addressing the enormous burden of old water infrastructure. Unfortunately, federal investment has not kept pace with water infrastructure need, and local communities are footing an ever-increasing portion of the bill. We need the federal government to do its fair share. We look forward to working with Congress to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and to significantly boost the nation’s investment in water infrastructure so that no person—and no family—has to do without affordable, safe drinking water.”
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lake Coalition and advocates from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and New York are asking the U.S. Congress to:
- Provide at least $8.6 billion for drinking water and waste water infrastructure—triple the current levels of federal funding.
- Support $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
- Bolster defenses against Asian carp by funding $3.8 million for pre-construction activities at Brandon Road Lock and Dam.
- Reject the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back clean water protections.
The call to action comes as a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure committee is set to hold a hearing on federal infrastructure investment and water affordability on March 7. The eight-state region faces more than $179 billion in repairs, upgrades and improvement to its drinking water and waste water infrastructure over the next 20 years. The Coalition is also supporting U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio’s Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019, which would address some funding needs for the region.
Among the activities slated for this week:
- On Tuesday, March 5, the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition’s Equity and Action Committee hosted a briefing on water issues with the Congressional Black Caucus.
- On Wednesday, March 6, Great Lakes advocates will meet to discuss Great Lakes priorities.
- On Thursday, March 7, the U.S House is hosting a hearing on federal infrastructure investments and water affordability challenges.
- Great Lakes advocates will be meeting with elected officials on Wednesday and Thursday, March 6 and March 7.