WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Legislation to help boost funding for the Great Lakes has been signed into law. The federal government is officially implementing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019, which increases funding for local projects. The legislation was officially passed on Tuesday after being signed into law by President Donald Trump.
Text provided by Congress stated that the Act will amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It will also continue to fund the Initiative for five years and increase the program’s annual funding from $300 million to $475 million by 2026.
Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition including New York, Director Laura Rubin shared that this will help support the 30 million people who rely on the Great Lakes for a multitude of reasons. She stated:
“This is a huge victory for the more than 30 million people who rely on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, health, jobs, recreation, and quality of life. Over the past decade, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been producing results for communities across the region, but serious threats remain. This bill recognizes the work we have left to do, and allows President-elect Biden and Congress to boost funding to tackle these threats before they get worse and more expensive to solve.”
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative invests in local projects across the country, including New York. These projects include the clean-up of toxic pollution, fight invasive species, reduce runoff from cities and farms and restore habitats. To date, the initiative has supported over 5.4 thousand projects.
H.R.4031- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019 was originally introduced on July 25, 2019 by Ohio Representative David Joyce. It was received by the Senate on February 10, 2020, passed on December 20 and was presented to President Trump on December 24.