Congress released its 2014 spending bill and the news is good! The bill restores funding for two essential Great Lakes programs – the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
Once at risk of significant cuts, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) will receive $300 million in the 2014 appropriations bill. A prior budget proposal decreased GLRI funding to $60 million, nearly 80% less than the $285 million appropriated in 2013. We are thrilled that GLRI will not face those cuts and will continue to fund crucial projects in the Great Lakes region, including projects in the Indiana Dunes.
Also increased in the 2014 appropriations bill are the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which will provide states with grants for drinking water and sewer construction projects that will increase water quality and reduce nonpoint source pollution.
In addition to these water wins, the bill also increased funding for the National Park Service, allowing every national park to remain open and operational throughout fiscal year 2014 without the threat of closure or employee furloughs, and provide for the hiring of seasonal employees.
Thank you to everyone who helped advocate for this critical funding!