Great Lakes Must Be Priority for Funding

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Rick Graham, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Great Lakes Must Be Priority for Funding
    Progress has been made in protecting the Great Lakes in 2008 within Ohio and our nation as a whole. Much more remains to be done. The Great Lakes Compact was passed in all eight Great Lakes States, United States Senate, House of Representatives, and was signed by the President. This was a high priority to protect their waters from further diversions outside the basin without approval of the Great Lakes States and Provinces. The Great Lakes Legacy Act was reauthorized but only at the 2002 initial authorization amount of 54 million dollars, where as 150 million dollars were requested and needed to continue the clean up toxic sediment and sludge in many of the Great Lakes Harbors.
    With money being tight; our expenditures must be placed where we get the most for our money. The benefits gained through conservation expenditures have long been proven to provide multiplied economic benefits for the expenditures when made. The multiplier effect will be expanded through savings in other areas, which will benefit us at the national, state and local levels.
    Five main areas must be at the forefront of the efforts to “Protect and Restore the Great Lakes”. We must stop the Aquatic Invasive Species through the establishment of a National Ballast Water Legislation that will stop additional species from introduction and prevent their spread with in the Great Lakes themselves. We must restore the lost funding for the Great Lakes Legacy Act to the requested amount of 150 million dollars. The Great Lakes Wetlands Restoration efforts must be continued and expanded by adding at least 28.5 million dollars to Federal programs that will partner with States, Tribes, local governments, and other non-federal partners to aid in the restoration of at least 200,000 acres of Great Lakes wetlands. The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act needs to be funded with 16 million dollars. The largest area of funding increase is needed to fund the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (which was reduced by 1/3 in FY 2008) by appropriating 1.35 billion dollars to expand and update sewage treatment facilities throughout our nation that our compromising our nations waters.
    Expenditures involved with these conservation efforts will provide many local jobs that will in turn help stimulate our local, state and national economies. We will also receive the benefit from decreased costs in treatment of water and improved fish and wildlife opportunities to increase tourist expenditures in our region.
    The Great Lakes are critical to the regional economies of the Great Lakes States and our Nation as a whole. Ask questions of candidates for all of our elected offices; get their commitments now on the Great Lakes. The time is now to act to protect our Greatest Regional Asset.
    Rick Graham
    Izaak Walton League of America
    Ohio Division President