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Environmental groups want Great Lakes restoration fund made long-term

With $475 million already on the way from Washington, environmental and conservation groups are pressing for billions more over the next five years, asking Congress to list Great Lakes cleanup and restoration as a permanent project approved to re...

With $475 million already on the way from Washington, environmental and conservation groups are pressing for billions more over the next five years, asking Congress to list Great Lakes cleanup and restoration as a permanent project approved to receive federal funding.

The Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act, introduced recently in the U.S. Senate, would create a five-year authorization for funding from Congress, although the exact dollar amount still would have to be decided every year as the federal budget is negotiated.

The St. Louis River Alliance and Duluth Mayor Don Ness are expected to highlight the need for Great Lakes restoration money at a media event Thursday. Supporters note that the lakes support a $7 billion fishery and a $16 billion tourism industry as well as providing drinking water and recreation for local residents.

Under the proposal, funding for nearly all Great Lakes environmental programs, including toxic cleanup and the battle against invasive species, would be rolled into one legislative package. The legislation calls for spending on restoration at a rate of $650 million a year for the next half-decade.

Related Topics: ENVIRONMENTLAKE SUPERIOR
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