SR25, As Adopted by Senate, May 15, 2019
Substitute for Senate Resolution No. 25.
A resolution to memorialize the Congress of the United States to continue full funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and to prioritize cleaning up the remaining Great Lakes areas of concern in accordance with a comprehensive strategy and schedule.
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) has provided crucial funding to support long overdue work to protect and restore the Great Lakes. In partnership with the states, local governments, and other organizations, the federal government has invested more than $3 billion and supported over 4,700 projects over the last decade, including around $600 million for more than 1,100 projects in Michigan. These projects have cleaned up toxic pollution, reduced runoff from cities and farms, combatted invasive species, and restored fish and wildlife habitat; and
Whereas, The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has made a significant difference and represents a sound investment in both the environment and the economies of the Great Lakes region. A 2018 study calculated that for every federal dollar invested in Great Lakes restoration there is $3.35 in additional economic activity, with older industrial cities like Detroit seeing an even higher return on investment; and
Whereas, The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has made a particular difference in addressing toxic hot spots around the Great Lakes. Prior to the GLRI, only one of these 31 "areas of concern" within the United States had been cleaned up in more than 20 years. Since 2010, GLRI funding has facilitated the cleanup of six additional areas of concern, five in Michigan. Cleaning up these areas of concerns makes a real difference to the environment as well as local economies by improving water quality, restoring fish and wildlife habitat, enhancing recreational opportunities, and facilitating new development; and
Whereas, Far more work needs to be done. Whether toxic algal blooms shutting down Toledo's drinking water supply, invasive carp threatening billion-dollar fisheries, or contaminated sediments restricting recreational opportunities, substantial limitations and threats to the use of the Great Lakes remain. Twenty-four areas of concern still need additional cleanup work done, including eight in Michigan. These problems require a collaborative effort to solve; and
Whereas, Less than 40 percent of the available funds have been spent in recent years cleaning up the federally designated areas of concern. Greater emphasis should be placed on addressing these sites, including having most of the available dollars designated towards completing cleanup of the remaining areas of concern. While other needs have merit as well, cleaning up these sites would bring significant benefits to impacted communities; and
Whereas, The President's Fiscal Year 2020 federal budget proposes to reduce funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 90 percent, though later commitments pledged to continue funding at past levels. This continued funding is appreciated as restoration efforts will only become more expensive and more difficult if they are not addressed in the coming years. The federal government needs to remain an active partner with the Great Lakes region; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate, That we memorialize the Congress of the United States to continue full funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; and be it further
Resolved, That we encourage that funding be prioritized towards cleaning up and delisting the remaining Great Lakes areas of concern and that a detailed comprehensive strategy and schedule be developed to direct the use of funding for the areas of concern; and be it further
Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the members of the Michigan congressional delegation.