Gibbs, House Votes to Protect Lake Erie
WASHINGTON, DC – Protecting the ecology and economy of Lake Erie and Northern Ohio got a much-needed boost after the House passed legislation to officially authorize a program that brings together stakeholders to protect the Great Lakes system. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Act enhances efforts to protect Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Created in 2004, GLRI began as a program overseen by the executive branch’s Great Lakes Interagency Task Force. Its goal was to coordinate the efforts at the federal, state, and local level, as well as the private sector, in protecting and restoring the Great Lakes. According to H.R. 223, formal authorization also includes provisions that reform the program based on recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). At the request of Congressman Bob Gibbs, Chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, GAO released a report last year reviewing GLRI and providing areas of improvement for the program.
After the vote, Congressman Gibbs released the following statement:
“Many people are surprised to learn about the economic importance of the Great Lakes. The region supports over $200 billion in economic activity and is one of the world’s largest sources of freshwater. The GLRI focuses on critical issues like protecting water quality and stopping invasive species that threaten the Great Lakes ecosystem. Formally authorizing the GLRI, while implementing recommended reforms, ensures that the Great Lakes are protected and enhanced through a partnership between all levels of government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. I want to thank Congressman Dave Joyce for introducing this bill and sharing my goal to keep the Great Lakes open for business.”
During debate of H.R. 223, Congressman Gibbs spoke on the House floor in support of the legislation. Video of his remarks can be viewed here.