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Howard A. Learner

The House Appropriations Committee Should Increase Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funding

On February 26, I had the opportunity to testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

I want to congratulate Congresswoman McCollum for now chairing this important Subcommittee and commend the Appropriations Committee and this Subcommittee for its strong bipartisan support for funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative over the past decade.

Climate change realities are creating much more stress on Great Lakes infrastructure and the ecosystem. Now is the time to increase funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

ELPC has worked for many years to protect the Great Lakes and were very engaged with many colleagues and public officials to establish the successful Great Lakes Restoration Initiative before and then during the Obama administration. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is vitally important and successful. It is a model federal program providing great benefits, and it is working well. We believe the Appropriations Committee should provide continued annual funding for this program at least at the authorized level of $300 million. However,  the threat of climate change means now is the time for the Appropriations Committee to increase funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to $475 million annually. That was the funding level during FY 2010 for this successful program. The Great Lakes face increased challenges from harmful algae blooms in western Lake Erie, Green Bay, Lake Superior and other places, and the impacts of climate change realities are creating much more stress on Great Lakes infrastructure and the ecosystem.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a successful program and a model for federal, state and local cooperation. Moving forward, the Environmental Law & Policy Center encourages this Subcommittee and the full Committee and Congress to seize the opportunities to increase funding so that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative can better achieve its full potential to restore the Great Lakes where we live, work and play.

Click here to download my full written testimony

or watch my full testimony below.

Howard A. Learner,

President and Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center

Howard Learner is an experienced attorney serving as the President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. He is responsible for ELPC’s overall strategic leadership, policy direction, and financial platform.

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