Portman, Stabenow, Joyce, Kaptur Applaud Signing of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act into Law

Bipartisan Law Ensures Great Lakes Will Be Protected for Future Generations

January 6, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), along with Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), applauded the signing of their bipartisan bill, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act, into law. The legislation reauthorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is set to expire at the end of FY 2021, for another five years. It also increases the current authorization level from $300 million to $375 million in FY 2022 and by $25 million annually until it reaches $475 million in FY 2026.  The FY 2021 Bipartisan Funding Agreement appropriated $330 million for the program for the next fiscal year.  Enactment of this legislation paves the way for higher funding levels in future years. 

“I applaud President Trump for signing the GLRI Act into law today. This is a victory for our efforts to protect our Great Lakes. GLRI is a successful public-private partnership that has helped address the greatest threats to the Great Lakes, including harmful algal blooms, invasive species, pollution, and contamination. Despite the program’s success, there is more work to be done,” Senator Portman said. “Lake Erie supports fishing and tourism industries totaling over $10 billion and is a top tourist destination in Ohio. With more than 10 million people depending on Lake Erie for their drinking water and hundreds of thousands of Ohioans depending upon the Lake for jobs, we must continue to protect our Great Lakes for the economic and environmental well-being of our region.” 

"The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which I authored in 2010, has been a major success story that has been critical to addressing the threats that face our beloved Great Lakes. In Michigan, this program has helped clean up contamination, restore wetlands, and fight invasive species, but there is much more to be done. It is great news that Republicans and Democrats came together to reinvest in this important program that will protect our Great Lakes for generations to come,” said Senator Stabenow.

“The Great Lakes are an irreplaceable resource and invaluable economic driver for not only Ohio but our entire country,” said Congressman Dave Joyce. “They provide clean drinking water to 48 million people, support more than 1.5 million jobs and generate over $62 billion in wages each year. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is absolutely critical to efforts that confront the threats the lakes face like harmful algal blooms, water pollution, invasive species, and coastal erosion. I was honored to introduce this bipartisan bill alongside my colleagues on the Great Lakes Task Force and I thank the President for signing it into law. I look forward to seeing it enhance the Initiative’s success in protecting and preserving the Great Lakes for both current and future generations.” 

“Since its inception, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has made the Great Lakes healthier and our local communities stronger,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “That’s why it was my honor to join my House and Senate colleagues in introducing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019. This bipartisan and bicameral bill will reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the most essential program in the effort to protect and restore our most precious resource: the Great Lakes. This legislation doubles down on federal investment in the Great Lakes because we know how effective the GLRI has been. Across Lake Erie and the Great Lakes Region, the GLRI is at the center of fighting invasive species, preventing, controlling and predicting harmful algal blooms, and reinvigorating our watershed and ecosystems. I’m glad to see it signed into law.” 

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is critical in cleaning up the Great Lakes and waterways, and addressing problems that directly impact public health and safety. The Initiative has focused efforts to stop the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species, restore coastline and prevent future contamination. Since 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has provided more than $2.7 billion to fund 5,449 projects throughout the Great Lakes region. 

The legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mike Braun (R-IN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).