U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce works to increase Great Lakes funding to $300 million
U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce is pleased the proposed federal bipartisan budget bill is now slated to contain $300 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding. Dollars would be used to address the most significant challenges facing the Great Lakes, including aquatic invasive species, habitat and wildlife protection and restoration, contaminated sediment, and nonpoint source pollution, said Joyce, R-Russell Township.
“This is a big win for Northeast Ohio because it helps ensure our Great Lakes will remain an economic powerhouse and source of job creation for years to come,” he said. “The Great Lakes are directly connected to 1.5 million jobs, generating $62 billion in wages annually. I’m proud to have led the bipartisan efforts to ensure our greatest economic and environmental resource will continue to thrive.”
Last summer, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee initially had set the funding for the initiative at $60 million for the next fiscal year. Joyce worked to bump the number up to $210 million and said a lot of hard work went into negotiating to get the figure back up to $300 million — about what it had been in federal fiscal years 2011 and 2012.
“They got it restored to $210 million and I’ve been fighting to restore the rest of it,” Joyce said. “I really do think it’s a national treasure and we have an opportunity to continue to do something that’s results driven and targets significant problems we have.” Federal sequestration dropped the funding down to about $284 million for fiscal year 2013. Joyce said to do everything right, the estimates are about $485 million.
“Due to budget cuts everyone is fighting to keep what they have,” the congressman said. “Our big fight is we cannot let Asian carp into the lake and if we do, it’s game, set, match.” The dollars for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are part of the omnibus measure that contains $1.1 trillion to pay for operations of the federal government through October and to avert a government shutdown.
Joyce also is pleased the federal government would have a budget that goes through the appropriations process rather than operating on continuing resolutions that fund the government at the same levels each year.
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on the budget bill and the U.S. Senate would likely take up the measure soon after, Joyce said. President Barack Obama has also signaled he would sign the bill.