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US House passes bipartisan plan to increase Great Lakes restoration funding

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Posted at 2:19 PM, Feb 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-07 14:45:23-05

WASHINGTON (WXYZ) — The U.S. House this week passed a bill that would increase funding for the Great Lakes.

With a bipartisan vote of 373 to 45, the House passed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019, which reauthorizes and expands funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The bill was sponsored by co-chars of the House Great Lakes Task Force which include Rep. Bill Huizenga, a Republican from west Michigan, Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from metro Detroit, and two other representatives from Ohio.

According to the plan, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was set to expire at the end of the Fiscal Year 2021, but will now be reauthorized for another five years.

It also increases the current authorization level from $300 million to $375 million in Fiscal Year 2022 and increases funding by $25 million a year until reaching $475 million in Fiscal Year 2026.

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has a proven track record of success in West Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes region,” said Congressman Bill Huizenga. “A recent study by the University of Michigan found that every $1 invested from the GLRI has generated more than $3 in additional long-term economic activity.

“The Great Lakes are not only a natural resource, but a way of life that support communities and jobs throughout the region,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. “Protecting the Great Lakes is critical. When the GLRI receives the funding it needs, we can properly take care of our region’s most treasured natural resources. This allows us to create good paying jobs, enjoy outdoor actives on the lakes, and protects the health and beauty the lakes have to offer.”

In all, there were 27 Democratic and 22 Republican cosponsors in the house.

The bill will now go to the Senate for a vote, where it was been introduced by a bipartisan commission that includes Senate Great Lakes Task Force Co-Chairs Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Ohio Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.