Vote will help protect and restore Great Lakes as well as provide economic boost to Upper Midwest

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama is poised to sign into law a bill that will nearly double funding to environmentally restore and protect our nation’s Great Lakes, after strong support from Wisconsin’s congressional delegation helped the U.S. Congress vote last night to fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“Last night’s vote is a monumental step forward in the effort to restore our precious Great Lakes and revive Wisconsin’s economy,” said Melissa Malott, water program director at Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “We applaud Congress — and especially the strong support of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation — for passing this bill. We look forward to President Obama signing this into law so that we can get to work protecting our drinking water, our economy, and our way of life.”

Many of Wisconsin’s congressional delegates voiced strong support for the importance of funding the proposal and played a pivotal role in passing last night’s final vote to fully fund the $475 million proposed for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as outlined in President Obama’s inaugural budget.

“Wisconsin’s congressional delegation really stepped up to the plate,” said Malott. “This is a significant victory for our environment as well as a win for our economy. Healthy Great Lakes benefit the people, businesses and communities throughout Wisconsin.”

As part of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act of 2010, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will fund projects to confront aquatic invasive species, clean up toxic pollution and restore habitat. These projects will help put Wisconsinites to work cleaning and maintaining some of our nation’s most beautiful, amazing, and economically valuable natural resources — the Great Lakes.

“The need for the restoration and protection of our precious lakes is great and we’re ready to get to work now,” said Malott. “Restoring Wisconsin’s Great Lakes will not happen over night, but this investment is a great start. We’re excited about last night’s progress and hope it will serve as the foundation for a long-term commitment to protect and restore our Great Lakes, our economy, and our way of life.”