Coalition to Congress: Support Great Lakes, Clean Water in Final Bills

November 2020

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (November 18, 2020) – In letters sent to the U.S. House and Senate today,

the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is urging Congress, as it wraps up business for the year, to support Great Lakes and clean water priorities that protect the drinking water of more than 30 million people, safeguard children from toxic lead contamination, prevent the shut-off of water to families, and confront the chronic problem of sewage fouling local waters.

“Congress has the opportunity to protect the drinking water, public health, and jobs of millions of people in the Great Lakes region, and we urge our elected officials to push these critical legislative priorities across the finish line,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “There’s important work left to do, and it’s time to get it done. The water problems will only get worse and more costly to solve.”

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is asking Congress to support five legislative priorities, as elected officials work to complete a federal budget by Dec. 11 and wrap up end-of-year business.

  1. Prioritize COVID-19 relief that includes a moratorium of water shut-offs to vulnerable communities and assistance to people and water utilities.
  2. Support Great Lakes and clean water priorities, including $335 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, as well as more than $11 billion in House-backed supplemental funding that will put people to work and create local jobs for drinking water and sewage treatment infrastructure, toxic lead abatement, and assistance for vulnerable and tribal communities.
  3. Reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (as proposed by H.R. 4031 and S. 2295) with annual incremental increases to its original funding level of $475 million per year.
  4. Support Great Lakes priorities in the Water Resources Development Act, including investments in water infrastructure, research, and community assistance.
  5. Invest in drinking water and sewage treatment infrastructure to help get at the more than $188 billion in need for projects in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The Coalition urges Congress to prioritize climate resiliency and supporting communities facing economic hardship by providing additional investments for disadvantaged communities and promoting investment in nature-based infrastructure projects.