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Bipartisan Bill Extends the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Increases Funding Levels

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, members of the Great Lakes Task Force – led by Senators JD Vance and Debbie Stabenow in the Senate and Representatives David Joyce, Marcy Kaptur, Bill Huizenga, and Debbie Dingell in the House – introduced the bipartisan Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2024, which extends this critical program for another five years through 2031, and increases annual authorization levels from $475 million in 2026 to $500 million from 2027 through 2031.

“The Great Lakes are an invaluable asset to the people of Ohio – I’m proud to partner with Senator Stabenow on legislation that will continue to protect them for generations to come,” said Senator Vance, Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative delivers the tools we need to fight invasive species, algal blooms, pollution, and other threats to the ecosystem. This is a commonsense, bipartisan effort that I encourage all of my colleagues to support.”

“The creation of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is one of the most important actions of my legislative career.  Since I authored the program in 2010, it has been a proven success story,” said Senator Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. “This bill will ensure the stability and future of the program as we address new emerging threats to our Great Lakes and waters.”

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has focused federal and nonfederal efforts to stop the spread of carp and other invasive species, restore coastline and habitats connecting our streams and rivers, clean up environmentally damaged Areas of Concern, and prevent future contamination.  

The Great Lakes and its watersheds continue to be stressed by contamination and threats to water quality, and are under increasing pressure from new invasive species, erosion, and habitat destruction. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ensures that vital efforts to protect our water can continue and that we can address new and emerging threats to our lakes and waterways.

Support for this popular initiative includes both Democrats and Republicans. In the Senate, the bill is sponsored by Senators JD Vance, Debbie Stabenow, Amy Klobuchar, Todd Young, Tammy Duckworth, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, Dick Durbin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tina Smith, Gary Peters, John Fetterman, Chuck Schumer, and Bob Casey. House sponsors include Representatives David Joyce, Marcy Kaptur, Bill Huizinga, Debbie Dingell, Gwen Moore, Jack Bergman, John Moolenaar, Claudia Tenney, Brian Steil, Haley Stevens, John James, Max Miller, Brad Schneider, Elissa Slotkin, Lisa McClain, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Joseph Morelle, and Mike Quigley.

The legislation also shares broad support among Great Lakes advocates, including: Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, Great Lakes Commission, Alliance for the Great Lakes, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, American Sportfishing Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, American Great Lakes Ports Association, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Great Lakes Business Network, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Clean Wisconsin, Save the Dunes, Ohio Environmental Council, and Western Reserve Land Conservancy.