Senate Passes Infrastructure Bill with $1B for Great Lakes Restoration
Coalition: Bill a Big Step Forward in Addressing Infrastructure Crisis

Ann Arbor, Mich. (August 10, 2021)—In a 69-30 vote, the U.S. Senate has passed a bipartisan infrastructure package that boosts federal investment in core Great Lakes and clean water programs, including $1 billion in additional funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The water infrastructure investments in the bill, according to the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, represent a big step forward to address serious threats to people’s drinking water and public health.

“This funding will be a shot in the arm to make our Great Lakes and our communities healthier,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Federal investments to restore the lakes have been producing results, yet serious threats remain. Poisoned drinking water, closed beaches, contaminated fish, and unaffordable water bills continue to impact people in cities and towns across the region and underscore the need to address these urgent problems now, before they get worse and more costly to solve. We look forward to working with Congress and the Biden Administration to get this and other bills across the finish line so that we can meet this moment in history and ensure that every person has access to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water.”

The Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure agreement, H.R. 3684 – the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” – is a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that includes $55 billion in new federal spending for water infrastructure programs.

The bill includes supplemental funding to restore the Great Lakes and to begin to address our nation’s water infrastructure crisis. Over five years, the bill appropriates:

  • $1 billion for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative;
  • $19.9 billion for sewage treatment infrastructure through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund;
  • $17.3 billion for drinking water infrastructure under the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund;
  • $15 billion for lead service line replacement;
  • $10 billion to address emerging contaminants across key water infrastructure programs; and
  • $1.9 billion for Army Corps aquatic ecosystem restoration projects.

The bill also reauthorizes and expands key water infrastructure programs for five years, including:

  • EPA’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, authorizing $14.65 billion for each program;
  • EPA’s Sec. 221 Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants, authorizing $1.4 billion;
  • EPA’s Small and Disadvantaged Communities program, authorizing $510 million; and
  • EPA’s Reducing Lead in Drinking Water and Lead Testing in Schools grant programs, authorizing $700 million across both programs.

The bill will now moves to the U.S. House for further consideration.

In the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin $188 billion dollars is needed for water infrastructure repairs and upgrades over 20 years.

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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CONTACT:

Jordan Lubetkin, LubetkinJ@nwf.org, (734) 904-1589

Lindsey Bacigal, BacigalL@nwf.org, (734) 887-7113