Great Lakes Day
Every February advocates from Indiana gather in Washington, D.C., to urge members of congress to support important programs that restore and protect the Great Lakes. This February 24-25 Save the Dunes is leading a delegation from Indiana with our partners at Healing Our Waters to advocate for issues that face the Great Lakes and Indiana as a whole.
Advocates from Indiana will join citizens from across the eight-state region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York to urge federal public officials to:
- Provide $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
- Pass Great Lakes legislation to authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
- Stop toxic algae blooms by funding farm conservation programs and appointing a federal coordinator position
- Stand up for clean drinking water by funding Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving funds
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
The federal government has invested more than $2.2 billion in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative over the last seven years. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a program aimed at restoring the Great Lakes to health. The initiative has funded 110 projects totaling $111 million in Indiana (including multi-state projects). Funds have been used to restore the Grand Calumet River and coastal wetlands in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposed cutting $50 million from the Initiative. The President recommended cutting this program for three years. Luckily, members of congress have worked together to restore funding to $300 million. There is much more work to do in the Great Lakes and particularly Indiana. If funds are cut from this project the problems the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was created to fix could outpace funding and efforts to restore the Great Lakes.
Clean Water State Revolving Fund
The Obama Administration’s budget will reduce the Clean Water State Revolving Fund—a program that assists communities with their wastewater infrastructure upgrades by providing low-interest loans. Funding from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund helps communities reduce sewer overflows and other runoff that still pollutes the Great Lakes. President Obama’s budget, if enacted, will cut $149 million from the Great Lakes states’ previous budget. Indiana would receive a reduction of 30 percent, or $10 million below current funding levels.
To learn more about Save the Dunes’ advocacy, click here.