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Stabenow announces bill to renew and expand funding for the Great Lakes

The bill would renew funding for five years.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Speaking in Grand Rapids, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced her bipartisan legislation that would renew and expand funding for the Great Lakes. 

The bill, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2019, would reauthorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is set to expire at the end of 2021.

The bill would renew funding for five years. It would also increase the funding from $300 million to $375 million in the first year, and it would go up $25 million each year after that until 2026. 

“Republicans and Democrats agree - the best way to tackle the challenges and threats to our water is to continue investing in the health of our Great Lakes and waterways," said Stabenow. 

At Friday's press conference near on the banks of the Grand River near the 6th Street Bridge, Stabenow was joined by Mayor Rosalyn Bliss, Jason Shamblin, Director of Ottawa County Parks, Erin Kuhn, Executive Director of the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission, and Joshua Fernando, Student and Plaster Creek Stewards Green Team Member 

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was started in 2010, and its funding is critical to cleaning up the Great Lakes beaches and waterways and fighting invasive species. 

RELATED: Trump budget proposes 90 percent cut on Great Lakes cleanup funding

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Under the Trump administration, the GLRI has been on the chopping block for three years in a row. With each federal budget proposal, the White House has suggested cutting it by 90 percent. However, when the president was in Grand Rapids hosting a rally this spring, he promised to fully fund the $300 million for the GLRI. 

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