In a letter sent on May 12, organizations representing the Great Lakes states, tribes, binational agencies, state legislators, municipalities, conservation organizations, labor, businesses, and ports joined their voices in urging Congress to include critical Great Lakes investments in legislation to stimulate economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We urge you to invest in the Great Lakes to help our region and nation recover from the devastating coronavirus pandemic,” the letter reads. “Funding can be administered quickly through existing programs and swiftly generate job growth and new economic activity across the eight-state Great Lakes Basin. Environmental improvements, including ensuring safe drinking water for over 40 million people, will accelerate community recovery and revitalize the Great Lakes Basin economy while fueling the national economic recovery.”
Investments would modernize outdated water infrastructure to protect drinking water and public health; help communities respond to high lake levels and climate impacts; strengthen the Great Lakes navigation system; and accelerate funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to implement ready to launch cleanup projects that will spur economic development in coastal communities, while sustaining efforts to block the introduction of Asian carp and implement agricultural conservation practices to prevent harmful algal blooms.
These investments are endorsed by the Great Lakes Commission, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, American Great Lakes Ports Association, Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus and BlueGreen Alliance. They reflect broader priorities for investing in the Great Lakes as an economic powerhouse and natural treasure that were released by the groups earlier this year.