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Higgins Announces Approval of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act

Dec 9, 2014
Press Release
Legislation Provides $300 Million Annually for Great Lakes Efforts Nationwide, Supports Local Projects

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), announced approval of H.R. 5764, The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2014, legislation authorizing $300 million in federal funding annually to support Great Lakes efforts for each of the next five years.

“We see a great multiplier effect with investments made in the Great Lakes,” said Higgins.  “With each effort to preserve and improve the Great Lakes we produce economic and environmental benefits for generations to come.”

First initiated in 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a multi-year, multi-agency effort to restore the Great Lakes by cleaning up pollution, promoting shoreline health, combating invasive species and protecting fish and wildlife.

Over the last 5 years more than $40 million in GLRI funds have been invested in Western New York.  Examples of local projects supported by GLRI include:  habitat restoration at Times Beach in Buffalo, dredging of the Buffalo Harbor, shoreline preservation and enhancements along the Buffalo River at Riverbend, removal of contaminants along the Buffalo River Area of Concern, restoring the ecological integrity of Hoyt Lake at Delaware Park and green infrastructure investments along Niagara Street.

The bill approved by the House of Representatives is cosponsored by Higgins and a bipartisan coalition of members.  It will now move to the Senate for final consideration and approval. 

Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Caucus whose district borders Lake Erie, spoke at the Great Lakes Commission Annual meeting which was held in Buffalo this fall and has consistently advocated for a substantial federal investment in Great Lakes initiatives.

In 2008, the Brookings Institution released a report which concluded that Great Lakes Restoration efforts have the potential to create jobs, development, and increased property values that generate between 600 million and 1.1 billion dollars in the Buffalo region alone.  The Great Lakes represent the largest surface source of fresh water on this planet.