President Signs into Law Portman’s Bipartisan Initiatives to Help Protect the Great Lakes

October 23, 2018 | Press Releases

America’s Water Infrastructure Act Will Help Upgrade Our Water Infrastructure & Protect the Great Lakes 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) celebrated President Trump signing the America’s Water Infrastructure Act into law. The legislation, which passed the Senate earlier this month, includes several initiatives to protect the Great Lakes. 

“We must ensure that America’s water infrastructure keeps up with the needs of local communities and this bipartisan legislation makes important progress on that goal,” said Portman. “This new law provides the resources necessary to upgrade our water infrastructure and ensure safe navigation around the country, as well as increasing the resources available to protect our Great Lakes from coastal erosion. Protecting the Great Lakes is one of my biggest priorities. I commend President Trump for signing this legislation into law, and I look forward to the progress it will help make for communities across Ohio and for the entire Great Lakes region.” 

The America’s Water Infrastructure Act includes the following initiatives that will benefit Ohio: 

  • The legislation authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a Great Lakes coastal resiliency study to coordinate a strategy across the Great Lakes states to help protect the Great Lakes’ 5,200-mile coastline. The coastline is imperative to a robust economy and tourism industry because the Great Lakes supports a $17.3 billion maritime economy and a $14 billion recreation and tourism industry.
  • The legislation requires the Corps to implement a five-year harmful algal bloom (HAB) technology development demonstration program to help identify technologies that will improve HAB early detection, prevention, and management techniques.
  • The legislation directs the Corps to undertake research on the management and eradication of invasive species, including Asian carp and zebra mussels in the Great Lakes. It also provides additional federal funding for the operation and maintenance of the Brandon Road project, which will help prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes through the Mississippi River.
  • The legislation authorizes full funding for the Soo Locks project, which will modernize the lock and ensure that is it safe for navigation. The Soo Locks is a critical point for the transport of more than 80 million ton of goods throughout the Great Lakes region.
  • The legislation will provide funding and resources to ensure safe and clean water, including authorizing $500 million over two years for grants to municipalities to help reduce combined sewer overflows and reauthorizing the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds for the first time in more than 20 years. 

NOTE: Portman has championed numerous pieces of legislation to protect and preserve clean drinking water and the health of Lake Erie. Portman received a Clean Water Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) for his efforts, and has worked diligently to make drinking water safe for all Ohioans, protect Lake Erie from dredged materials, harmful algal blooms, harmful plastic microbeads and invasive species, and more