Durbin, Duckworth Join Great Lakes Lawmakers to Introduce Legislation to Extend Great Lakes Protections

Bipartisan Bill Extends the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Increases Funding Levels

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), both members of the Great Lakes Task Force, joined U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and J.D. Vance (R-OH) and additional Great Lakes lawmakers in introducing the bipartisan Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2024, which extends the critical program for another five years through 2031, and increases annual funding levels from $475 million in 2026 to $500 million from 2027 through 2031.  The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is the most significant investment ever made to restore and protect our Great Lakes.

“The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a successful program that protects one of the Midwest’s most valuable resources.  It is vital that we continue to invest in this initiative for years to come,” said Durbin.  “I’m joining my colleagues today to reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and ensure that our region has the resources to care for our lakes.”

“Maintaining the health of our Great Lakes is critical to protecting our environment, supporting a robust fishing industry and supporting the health of our communities throughout the Midwest and beyond,” Duckworth said. “By reauthorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, we’re working to ensure we have the federal support needed to keep our Great Lakes clean and protect this critical resource forgenerations to come.”

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has focused federal and nonfederal efforts to stop the spread of carp and other invasive species, restore coastline and habitats connecting our streams and rivers, clean up environmentally damaged Areas of Concern, and prevent future contamination.  

The Great Lakes and its watersheds continue to be stressed by contamination and threats to water quality, and are under increasing pressure from new invasive species, climate change, erosion, and habitat destruction.  The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ensures that vital efforts to protect fresh water can continue and that new and emerging threats to the region’s lakes and waterways can be addressed.

In the Senate, the bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Todd Young (R-IN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tina Smith (D-MN), John Fetterman (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Bob Casey (D-PA). 

The legislation also shares broad support among Great Lakes advocates, including: Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, Great Lakes Commission, Alliance for the Great Lakes, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, American Sportfishing Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, American Great Lakes Ports Association, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Great Lakes Business Network, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Clean Wisconsin, Save the Dunes, Ohio Environmental Council, Ducks Unlimited and Western Reserve Land Conservancy.