U.S. House Passes Great Lakes Restoration Bill

Headlands Park in Mentor (photo: Mark Urycki)

By Elizabeth Miller 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2016 Wednesday.  If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, the bill would authorize $300 million dollars annually for 5 years to fund Great Lakes projects.  Ohio representative David Joyce sponsored the bill.    

President Obama proposed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2010, allocating $475 million dollars of his budget to the project.  The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition says that Congress has invested “over 2,900 projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York”. The projects are dedicated to improving water quality, preventing invasive species, and solving other environmental problems.

In the first 5 years of the initiative, state and local agencies in Ohio received funding to clean up the Ashtabula River and implement water quality monitoring systems.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also utilized funds from the GLRI to help dredge sediment from Cleveland, Lorain, and Ashtabula Harbors.

The bill is a re-introduction of a previous bill in 2014 that passed the U.S. House, but did not make it to the Senate.  The EPA announced Plan II for the GLRI in 2014.

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