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Leaders stress importance & benefits of joint effort to protect shared fresh water resources
Congress members Brian Higgins (NY-26) and Bill Huizenga (MI-04) are leading an effort to encourage the government of Canada to “strengthen its commitment to protecting and investing in the Great Lakes.”
In a letter to President Joe Biden, the members wrote, “we write to underscore the importance of the Great Lakes to the United States and Canada, as well as the shared commitment that both our nations must uphold to support the Great Lakes.”
Biden has announced his intention to visit Canada and meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the month of March. The Congress members are asking for this issue to be a priority in bilateral discussions, writing “We encourage you to highlight the importance of this binational resource, the investments needed to restore and protect the Great Lakes during your official visit to Canada.”
Joining Higgins and Huizenga on the bipartisan letter are Congress members Jack Bergman (MI-01-R), Debbie Dingell (MI-06-D), Mike Gallagher (WI-08-R), David Joyce (OH-14-R), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09-D), John Moolenaar (MI-02-R) and Elissa Slotkin (MI-07-D).
Higgins’ said, “Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding authorized by Congress will provide a record $3.125 billion in U.S. investments in and around the Great Lakes over five years. In recent years, the GLRI has been funded by the U.S. at around $300 million annually. By comparison, the government of Canada committed just $32.97 million (U.S.) between 2017 and 2022, with plans for a $9 million annual commitment ($6.6 million U.S.) moving forward.
“An analysis conducted five years ago by the University of Michigan found that each dollar invested by the U.S. government through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative generated an economic return of $3.35 across all regions and even greater economic activity in some regions.”
Congress members Higgins and Huizenga are members of the congressional Great Lakes Task Force and co-chairs of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group. Higgins’ Western New York district borders Lakes Erie and Ontario. Huizenga’s Southwestern Michigan district borders Lake Michigan.