Three members of Michigan’s congressional delegation will lead a bipartisan group of federal legislators advocating for policies that aid the Great Lakes.
U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland), as well as U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), will serve as co-chairs of the Great Lakes Water Task Force, according to a statement. They will be joined by U.S. Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.) in the House, as well as U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in the Senate.
Several other members of Michigan’s congressional delegation also serve on the task force, but not in leadership roles.
“The Great Lakes are not only a natural resource but a way of life that support communities throughout the region,” Dingell said in a statement. “Environmental threats such as Asian Carp, harmful algal blooms, PFAS, and climate change affect us all. Protecting the Great Lakes for future generations has never been a partisan issue.
“As co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, I will continue working for policies in a bipartisan manner that advance the region, promote economic development, and protect these treasured waters.”
To that end, a bipartisan chorus of legislators slammed President Donald Trump’s budget recommendation earlier this month that would cut federal funding for Great Lakes initiatives by 90 percent. Congress is unlikely to approve Trump’s proposed budget.
“It is vital that protecting and preserving the Great Lakes remains a national priority,” Huizenga said in a statement following Trump’s budget proposal. “While there are several improvements in the President’s budget proposal from last year, it fails to properly fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).
“This critical program has helped clean up legacy pollution, restore habitat, and prevent the spread of invasive species. As the Republican chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, I will continue to work with both Republicans and Democrats to fully fund the GLRI and protect both the economy and the ecology of the Great Lakes.”