Protecting the Great Lakes

March 16, 2017
Editorial

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Protecting the Great Lakes
by Congressman John Moolenaar

I have always been a strong supporter of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The GLRI has worked in partnership with conservation efforts including groups like Ducks Unlimited, and researchers at Central Michigan University who have done critical work assessing the health of 10,000 miles of wetlands that support the Great Lakes ecosystem.

I believe that this year there will once again be great support in the House of Representatives for fully funding the GLRI. Just last December, more 300 members of the House and 60 members of the Senate voted to authorize annual funding for the GLRI for the next five federal budgets.

The GLRI enjoys bipartisan support from the Michigan congressional delegation and delegations throughout the Great Lakes states. I will continue to work across the aisle with members from other Great Lakes states to defend funding for the GLRI as I did when former President Obama proposed cutting funding for the program.

I hope the new administration will recognize the strong bipartisan support for this important program and sign legislation that protects funding for the GLRI.

In addition to the GLRI, I have worked on two other issues that will protect the Great Lakes.

I have joined my colleagues in writing to the administration asking it to release its plan for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in the fight against Asian carp.

Asian carp is a dangerous invasive species that must be stopped from entering the Great Lakes and wreaking havoc on the most important freshwater ecosystem in the world.

After eight years of former President Obama putting Chicago interests ahead of the millions of people who enjoy the Great Lakes for work and recreation, it is time to make real progress on blocking Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

We must also protect the Great Lakes from the dangers of nuclear waste. The Canadian government has proposed using a site on the shores of Lake Huron to store nuclear waste. Lake Huron is a treasure between our two countries and I hope the government of Canada will look for a new location outside of the Great Lakes Basin. I have sent a letter to the Trump administration asking it to work on this issue with Canada and find a more suitable location that will not endanger the Great Lakes ecosystem.

The Great Lakes are one-fifth of the world’s surface fresh water and they support billions of dollars in economic activity, creating jobs in all sectors of the economy. They are central to the outdoor heritage of our state and they enrich the lives of all Michigan residents.

I am working hard to protect the Great Lakes on a number of issues. The Great Lakes enjoy broad support in Congress and I will work to unite my colleagues around legislation that will continue to protect the Great Lakes for years to come.

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