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house Bill H.R. 223

Should the Government Fund Restoration Projects in the Great Lakes?

Argument in favor

This bill would fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and would make existing efforts more efficient. Future generations deserve to enjoy the wonders of the Great Lakes, and communities living there now deserve to reap the full benefits from the tourism that the Lakes bring to surrounding areas.

Scott's Opinion
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02/10/2016
There's no reason the federal government shouldn't help the bordering states in this effort. The Great Lakes are a national treasure. Canada should be helping too.
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Mark's Opinion
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01/28/2016
The dumbest thing I've read was the first nay comment saying water and public works are a waste of money. Let's think about that, if they're a waste of money than the people of Flint MI are liars about their water situation and there's no such thing as pot holes or the fucking road you drive to go to your job doesn't matter. How stupid do you have to be to actually believe the shit you spew out of your idiotic mouth? I'm seriously asking because if your this stupid you shouldn't have a right to vote or own a gun.
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Taylor's Opinion
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05/29/2016
As someone who lives on Lake Erie and has seen the damage of invasive species such as Zebra Mussels and the harsh effects of algae blooms, this bill would be enormously helpful for this important waterway and ecosystem.
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Argument opposed

Policy makers supporting this bill are just in it for the potential economic gains their districts will see if the Great Lakes are restored — not from a genuine desire to see environmental improvements. These programs should be managed at the State level, where people are more knowledgeable about what the Lakes need.

Curmudgeon's Opinion
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08/01/2015
Waterworks and public rail are the most obvious pork projects we can no longer fund.
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John's Opinion
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07/05/2015
NO NO NO. The surrounding States and municipalities derive the benefits of these lakes and they should be responsible for their care and feeding. We are 18 TRILLION in debt. We cannot afford new programs. We should be cutting programs. Stop spending!!! We should reduce taxes and reduce spending $2 for every tax dollar cut!
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Chas's Opinion
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03/16/2016
We need environmental cleanup, but creating tourist areas needs to be a local expense, not paid for by the rest of the country.
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What is House Bill H.R. 223?

Launched in 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was started to protect and restore one of crown jewels of the U.S. and the "largest system of fresh surface water in the world."  The initiative focuses on cleaning areas of concern in the lakes, controlling and preventing invasive species and harmful algal blooms, and restoring habitats. 

H.R. 223 would designate that the Initiative prioritize projects with non-Federal partners that address:
  • Toxic substances in parts of the Great Lakes;
  • Protecting and restoring nearshore health while combatting pollution;
  • Wetland restoration;
  • Maintaining accountability and communication between parters in the Initiative. 
The Initiative would be directed to work with Federal partners to pick the best combination of actions to restore the Great Lakes, while assessing the feasibility and efficiency of each proposal. 

Impact

People who live in communities near the Great Lakes, or who live on resources from the Great Lakes, members of Congress who represent those states, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, people who run their various restoration programs, federal agencies that oversee the Great Lakes, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 223

$300.00 Million
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, H.R. 5764 would authorize a budget of $300,000,000 to carry out the project every year from 2015 to 2019.

More Information

Of Note: 

In the past five years, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has invested more than $1.6 billion for over 2,000 projects for communities affected by the Great lakes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. 

In a letter urging Congress to fund the Initiative, members from both sides of the aisle wrote a letter stating: 
"The Great Lakes are the world's largest system of fresh surface water, providing drinking water for nearly 40 million people. The Lakes are also an economic driver, supporting 1.5 million jobs and generating $62 billion in wages annually. The Great Lakes fishery alone is valued at $7 billion a year. The Lakes also support commerce, agriculture, transportation, and tourism. For all these reasons, we believe Great Lakes restoration must remain a priority."  

On the other hand, critics like Todd Ambs, campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition see this bill as a step in the right direction, but not a full on solution: 
“While funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is most welcome, we are disappointed in cuts to core programs that will severely inhibit the ability of cities to invest in infrastructure desperately needed to curtail sewer overflows throughout the region. Further, rolling back essential Clean Water Act protections undermines restoration efforts and undercuts a rulemaking process currently underway.”

Media: 
Bipartisan Letter to Congress (in support)



Healthy Lakes Healthy Lives


(Photo Credit: "Great Lakes from space crop labeled" by SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

AKA

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016

Official Title

To authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed April 26th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Water Resources and Environment
    IntroducedJanuary 8th, 2015

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    There's no reason the federal government shouldn't help the bordering states in this effort. The Great Lakes are a national treasure. Canada should be helping too.
    Like (7)
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    Share
    The dumbest thing I've read was the first nay comment saying water and public works are a waste of money. Let's think about that, if they're a waste of money than the people of Flint MI are liars about their water situation and there's no such thing as pot holes or the fucking road you drive to go to your job doesn't matter. How stupid do you have to be to actually believe the shit you spew out of your idiotic mouth? I'm seriously asking because if your this stupid you shouldn't have a right to vote or own a gun.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    As someone who lives on Lake Erie and has seen the damage of invasive species such as Zebra Mussels and the harsh effects of algae blooms, this bill would be enormously helpful for this important waterway and ecosystem.
    Like (3)
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    Waterworks and public rail are the most obvious pork projects we can no longer fund.
    Like (2)
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    For the "nay" people saying that the states should handle it, I disagree because there is currently nothing to prevent a state from doing nothing, thus counteracting any progress the other states may make. This needs to be dealt with at a federal level.
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    Federal government shouldn't have a say on this issue, it should be a state issue.
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    I would be in favor of more pollution clean-up, in the Great Lakes and elsewhere. Unfortunately, " Controlling…invasive species" generally translates to slaughtering wildlife in the name of environmental protection, which is reprehensible. "invasive" animals have just as much right to live as any other creatures, and efforts to kill them can have collateral damage among native organisms.
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    Protect our earth now, congress hasn't figured out a replacement plan yet.
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    The companies that pumped toxic substances into them sure as hell won't.
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    This bill would create jobs and improve the quality of life around the Great Lakes.
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    Yes, as long as it is doing cleanup and environmental protection.
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    The lakes are vital to both the United States and Canada and will continue to be so for countless generations. We must protect our lakes and it'd be great if Canada could help too.
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    We have to preserve these ecosystems
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    Conserving these lakes and its resources is anything except for a bad idea
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    We need environmental cleanup, but creating tourist areas needs to be a local expense, not paid for by the rest of the country.
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    We have a responsibility to literally every living thing to protect and restore our environment.
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    Although opponents to this bill make a good point in the fact that this is largely a state issue, a number of the lakes border multiple states and thus federal oversight is necessary to ensure regulation and growth in the environment!
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    While I agree with a previous commenter that states should decide how to address problems of pollution etc, its not clear to me that the state of Michigan or other surrounding great lake states would be able to foot the bill for restoration projects of this scale, which are needed
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    Everything possible 100% needs to be done to save this body of clean water- why is this even an issue- it's basic common sense.
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    NO NO NO. The surrounding States and municipalities derive the benefits of these lakes and they should be responsible for their care and feeding. We are 18 TRILLION in debt. We cannot afford new programs. We should be cutting programs. Stop spending!!! We should reduce taxes and reduce spending $2 for every tax dollar cut!
    Like (1)
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