Press Release

With Roughly 700 Miles Of New York Coastline On The Great Lakes, Senators Gillibrand And Schumer Call For $475 Million For Great Lakes Restoration In Budget – Funds Can Go Towards Fighting Invasive Species, Pollution and Contamination

Mar 24, 2009

Washington, DC
New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee, and Charles Schumer joined with
their Great Lakes colleagues to call for $475 million for the Great
Lakes in the budget. In his budget proposal, President Obama requested
this money for Great Lakes restoration. New York shares roughly 700
miles of coastline with the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes are an indispensable natural, economic, and recreational
resource for New York,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Restoration of the
Great Lakes is critical to preserving our environment and the economic
revitalization of our communities. I will work with President Obama,
Senator Schumer, and my colleagues in Congress to offers fundamental
changes that will help ensure our Lakes have the best chance for
improvement and protection.”

Ontario and Lake Erie are recreational, economic, and natural wonders,
and we must do everything we can to protect them from pollution,
invasive species and other contamination so that future generations can
enjoy their beauty and abundance.  From drinking water to fishing to
boating to commerce they are a fundamental part of New York’s
greatness,” said Senator Schumer.

Great Lakes account for 90 percent of the United States fresh water and
20 percent of the world’s fresh water supply. More than 40 million
people currently rely on the Great Lakes for drinking water.

the health of the Great Lakes is threatened by aquatic invasive
species, contaminated sediment, nonpoint source pollution, and habitat
loss. According to some scientific views, the Great Lakes are at a
tipping point. Failure to protect and restore the lakes now will result
in more serious consequences.

study by the Brookings Institute detailed the economic impact on
restoring the Lakes and estimated that restoration of the Lakes would
have a $50 billion dollar economic impact, through new construction,
job creation, rising property values and environmental restoration of
local fish habitats.

a letter to the Budget Committee, the Senators wrote, “Last summer,
President Obama made a promise to restore the Great Lakes, and
including $475 million in new funding for the EPA is a way to start
following up on that commitment.  We have long supported Great Lakes
restoration, and we urge you to include language in the Budget
Resolution that assumes that within funds provided for natural
resources and the environment, there will be $475 million in funding
for the Great Lakes.”

Carl Levin (D-MI), George Voinovich (R-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI),
Dick Durbin (D-IL), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and
Russ Feingold (D-WI) joined Senators Gillibrand and Schumer in sending
this bipartisan letter.