Slaughter Supports Bipartisan Water Infrastructure Bill Reauthorizing Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (NY-25), Co-Chair of the bipartisan House Great Lakes Task Force, voted for the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which passed the House with strong bipartisan support this afternoon. This comprehensive legislation, which includes the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, reauthorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for the next five years and increases funding for dredging small harbors like the Port of Rochester.
“As co-chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force, I’m glad that leaders from both parties have reached this bipartisan compromise in the closing days of this Congress. The Great Lakes are critical for our region’s economy and the millions of Americans who rely on them as a source of drinking water and recreation every year so I’m pleased to see this legislation reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. This bill also increases funding for dredging small harbors like the Port of Rochester, which ships and receives an average of 95,000 tons of material each year,” said Slaughter.
The WIIN Act reauthorizes the GLRI for the next five years. This seven-year-old effort helps protect, restore and maintain the Great Lakes ecosystem. The inter-agency program provides funding to address vital environmental issues in the Great Lakes, such as cleaning up contaminated sediments, reducing polluted runoff, mitigating habitat degradation and loss, and addressing invasive species such as the Asian carp. The program has invested $2.2 billion in Great Lakes restoration over the last seven years. The five Great Lakes contain one fifth of the world’s fresh water supply.
This legislation also sets aside 10 percent of all dredging funds for small harbors like the Port of Rochester. Slaughter has secured more than $5 million since 2013 for dredging Rochester’s port, which ships and receives an average of 95,000 tons of material each year. Commodities that pass through the port generate more than $6 million in local salaries annually.
As co-chair the bipartisan Great Lakes Task Force, Slaughter as made advocating for policies and programs that restore and clean up the Great Lakes a priority. The task force works to enhance the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes and the surrounding regions.