LANSING – State Representative Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores) recently introduced a House Concurrent Resolution urging Congress to restore funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The initiative has helped fund 341 projects in Michigan. Proposed congressional funding cuts this year, however, put future projects in jeopardy.
“My resolution strongly urges Congress to restore funding to this program, which has already helped remove contaminated sediments from lakes and rivers. The GLRI has also restored habitat along the St. Clair River and in other communities in Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas,” said Roberts. “It is wrong that Congress slashed funding for the GLRI from $475 million in 2010 to $284 million this year. It is unconscionable that they are considering reducing it further to $210 million for fiscal year 14.”
Past GLRI funding began long overdue restoration efforts on the Great Lakes. The funding is still needed, however, because there are still beach closings, fish consumption advisories and contaminated sediments that pose a danger to Michiganders. Without maintaining funding at 2010 levels it is likely that some important projects will not get done, and further efforts could be even more expensive as the cost to do cleanup projects increases.
“Increasing GLRI funding so that we can continue restoring our lakes is a smart investment that will pay off in increased tourism and a cleaner, safer Michigan for residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Roberts. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to encourage our congressional delegation to put Michigan’s beautiful natural resources first by restoring funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”