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Higgins Announces Major Boost to Great Lakes Funding

Feb 5, 2020
Press Release
Under Bill Approved by House Funding to Grow to $475 Million by 2026

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the House of Representatives has approved a major increase in funding for the Great Lakes.  Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force, is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act (H.R. 4031).

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is an American success story, bringing dirty waterways and the communities around them back to life,” said Higgins.  “These investments protect the greatest source of freshwater on the planet and simultaneously change the course of Great Lakes cities for generations to come.”

Higgins spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor: 

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Congress amended the Clean Water Act in 2010, creating the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a multi-state, bi-national and multi-agency effort to provide federal resources for the Great Lakes ecosystem.   

In recent years the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been funded at $300 million.  Under this legislation GLRI funding would jump to $375 million in 2022 and grow by $25 million annually through 2026:

2022: $375 Million

2023: $400 Million

2024: $425 Million

2025: $450 Million

2026: $475 Million

Great Lakes funding has consistently been at risk for drastic cuts and elimination under the Trump Administration, however Higgins and his colleagues in Congress have fought to restore investments to Great Lakes communities:

2018: President Trump proposed elimination, Congress approved $300 Million

2019: Trump proposed $30M, Congress approved $300 Million

2020: President originally proposed $30M, Congress approved $320 Million

A report on the legislation issued by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee notes, “The Great Lakes Basin is home to more than 30 million people in the United States and Canada. The Basin reaches seven states, plus the entirety of Michigan and a portion of Ontario, Canada. The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system in the world, holding about 21 percent of the world’s fresh water supply to provide drinking water as well as recreation and economic opportunity.”

In 2018 the University at Michigan released a study that found every dollar invested in the Great Lakes yields, on average $3.35 in economic activity; in Buffalo the rate of return is even higher, delivering $4 for each GLRI dollar invested here in Western New York. 

Since 2010 the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has invested over $72.672 million in federal funding supporting more than 125 projects in Congressman Higgins district.  These investments are contributing to the restoration of the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers and advancing revival of the Buffalo and Niagara Falls waterfronts.