Ann Arbor, Mich. (September 29, 2016). The U.S. House of Representatives wrapped up their pre-election session this week passing legislation supporting Great Lakes restoration in the Water Resources Development Act. Additionally, the House also followed the Senate in passing a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until December 9, which the President signed into law today. Congress has already left Washington and will not return until after the November elections.
The House version of the Water Resources Development Act (HR 5303) passed overwhelmingly yesterday by a vote of 399-25. Included in the bill was a provision authorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for five years. The amendment, offered by Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio), was based on his bill, H.R. 223, which the House passed in April. The House approved the amendment 407-19. The Senate included a similar provision in its bill.
Also included in the House bill is an amendment offered by Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) authorizing emergency funding for Flint, Mich. The House voted 284-14 in favor of the amendment.
The bill made important improvements to the Army Corps of Engineers’ Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Program sponsored by both Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.).
“Authorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative keeps federal restoration efforts on track and benefits millions of people who depend on the lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life,” said Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “The people of Flint also need faster congressional action to ensure they get the help they deserve. Many thanks to Rep. Joyce and Rep. Kildee for their leadership on these two important issues.”
Ambs continued: “It’s time for Congress to take the next step and send final legislation like WRDA and appropriations bills to the President so the people in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New York can continue to see results.”
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 140 environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Learn more at www.healthylakes.org or follow us on Twitter @healthylakes.