- Protecting the Great Lakes is vital to Michigan’s health and prosperity.
- Improving coordination of state, federal and international policy on the Lakes is vital to their future.
- Protecting the Lakes from invasive species such as Asian carp requires urgent action.
The Great Lakes are central to Michigan’s identity and to the health and prosperity of Michigan residents. Michiganians rely on the lakes for clean drinking water, recreation, tourism, and transporting vital commodities. They are an immensely valuable resource for the entire nation. Protecting that resource has been a top priority of mine since coming to the Senate.
My current priorities for the lakes are passage of the Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act, which would authorize funding for President Obama’s $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve Boundary Modification Act. I’m also fighting for emergency action to prevent Asian carp from entering the Lakes. These fish, which threaten to move from the Mississippi River watershed into the Great Lakes, could do immense harm to lake ecosystems. In December 2010, Congress passed the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act, a bill I introduced, which bans importation or interstate trade of live bighead carp, one problem Asian carp species.
It’s also important to promote commerce and historic preservation on the lakes. I introduced the Harbor Maintenance Act in an effort to ensure that funding is available to keep Great Lakes harbors open and operable. I’m fighting for funding to upgrade the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie to protect the viability of Great Lakes shipping.
These efforts follow years of advocacy for the Lakes that helped win funding for cleanup of contaminated sediments and water quality protection; funding and new regulations to fight invasive species such as the zebra mussel; and preservation of such treasures as the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary and wilderness areas of the Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes national lakeshores.
Senator Levin’s Record on Great Lakes
- March 27, 2012 – Sens. Levin, Kirk outline Great Lakes protection programs
In letters to Senate Appropriations Committee members, Sen. Levin and Sen. Mark Kirk, co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, urge support for programs important to the Great Lakes, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and efforts to stop Asian carp and other invasive species.
- March 14, 2012 – Senate supports Sen. Levin’s approach on harbor maintenance
Sen. Levin welcomes Senate adoption of a “sense of the Senate” resolution calling on Congress to address the growing backlog of maintenance needs at the nation’s harbors, including Great Lakes harbors. The resolution, while not legally binding, adopts the approach contained in Sen. Levin’s Harbor Maintenance Act.
- Feb. 7, 2012 – Levin helps secure funding for Michigan harbors
Sen. Levin welcomes an Army Corps of Engineers decision to provide additional funding for harbor dredging at Holland, St. Joseph, Manistee and the Saginaw and St. Marys rivers in Michigan. The decision comes after Levin wrote to Army officials outlining urgent needs at Michigan harbors.
- Feb. 3, 2012 – Great Lakes lawmakers seek quicker study on lake protection
Sen. Levin joins more than two dozen Great Lakes lawmakers in a letter to the head of the Army Corps of Engineers highlighting a new study of separating the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds to prevent the spread of invasive species, and calling on the Army Corps to accelerate its own study of separating the watersheds.
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