Senators Bieda, Hopgood, Conyers, Schuitmaker, Hansen, Knezek, Jones, Zorn, Gregory, Johnson, Hood, Warren, Ananich, Schmidt, Emmons, Young and Hertel offered the following concurrent resolution:
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 14.
A concurrent resolution to oppose slashing federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Whereas, The Great Lakes are a critical resource for our nation, supporting the economy and a way of life in Michigan and the other seven states within the Great Lakes region. The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world's surface freshwater and 90 percent of the United States' surface freshwater. This globally significant freshwater resource provides drinking water for more than 30 million people and directly supports 1.5 million jobs, generating $62 billion in wages; and
Whereas, The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) provides essential funding to restore and protect the Great Lakes. This funding has supported long overdue efforts to clean up toxic pollution, reduce runoff from cities and farms, combat invasive species, and restore fish and wildlife habitat. Since 2010, the federal government has partnered with public and private entities and invested more than $2 billion in over 2,900 projects throughout the region. Over its first six years, the GLRI has provided more than $425 million for more than 500 projects in Michigan alone. The Brookings Institution has estimated that every dollar invested in the Great Lakes produces two dollars in long-term economic benefits; and
Whereas, GLRI projects are making a significant difference. They have restored more than 150,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat; opened up fish access to more than 3,400 miles of rivers; helped implement conservation programs on more than 1 million acres of farmland; and accelerated the cleanup of toxic hotspots. In Michigan, GLRI funding has been instrumental in removing contaminated sediments from Muskegon Lake, the River Raisin, and the St. Mary's River; in restoring habitat along the St. Clair River, Cass River, Boardman River, and the Keweenaw Peninsula; and in the delisting of White Lake in Muskegon County and Deer Lake in the Upper Peninsula as areas of concern; and
Whereas, While a significant investment, past GLRI funding represents only a small portion of the amount needed to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Toxic algal blooms, beach closings, fish consumption advisories, and the presence of contaminated sediments continue to limit the recreational and commercial use of the Great Lakes; and
Whereas, Any cuts to GLRI funding would jeopardize the momentum from over a decade of unprecedented regional cooperation. Draft federal budgets have proposed a 97 percent reduction in GLRI funding. These cuts would be a short-sighted, short-term cost-saving measure with long-term implications. Restoration efforts will only become more expensive and more difficult if they are not addressed in the coming years; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That we oppose slashing federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; and be it further
Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the members of the Michigan congressional delegation.