New legislation for Great Lakes cleanup advances to Senate floor

May 6, 2024
The legislation would bring $500 million annually in funding for pollution cleanup.

New bipartisan legislation advanced out of a U.S. Senate committee on May 1, 2024, that would aid the cleanup of the Great Lakes.

It now goes in front of the full chamber to vote on legislation that could provide up to $500 million annually to clean up toxic pollution, prevent farm and urban runoff, restore habitat and confront invasive species in the Great Lakes.

The bill, titled the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act of 2024, was passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by voice vote.

The next step in the process is for the full Senate to vote on the bill. Passage of the bill is seen as a top priority for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which sent letters to the Senate and House leadership in support of the bill.

The GLRI Act of 2024 looks to reauthorize the successful federal program for five more years, from 2027 through 2031. The act would invest up to $500 million annually to restore and protect the Great Lakes and the streams, rivers and wetlands that feed them.

There is expected to be an increased focus on reaching those most impacted by pollution and addressing the growing threats of climate change.

“Federal investments to restore the Great Lakes have been producing results for our drinking water, public health, jobs, and quality of life. But serious threats remain. We look forward to working with the Great Lakes congressional delegation to pass this bipartisan bill to tackle serious threats to our waters, before the problems get worse and more expensive to solve,” said Laura Rubin, director of the Healing our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, in a press release.