Congressman Brian Higgins is among a group making an effort to encourage the Government of Canada to strengthen its commitment to protecting and investing in the Great Lakes.
In a letter to President Biden, the Members say, “we write to underscore the importance of the Great Lakes to the United States and Canada, as well as the shared commitment that both our nations must uphold to support the Great Lakes.”
President Biden has announced his intention to visit Canada and meet with Prime Minister Trudeau during the month of March. The Congressmembers are asking for this issue to be a priority in bilateral discussions, writing “We encourage you to highlight the importance of this binational resource, the investments needed to restore and protect the Great Lakes during your official visit to Canada…”
Joining Rep. Higgins on the bipartisan letter are Congressmembers Bill Huizenga (MI-04-R), Jack Bergman (MI-01-R), Debbie Dingell (MI-06-D), Mike Gallagher (WI-08-R), David Joyce (OH-14-R), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09-D), John Moolenaar (MI-02-R), and Elissa Slotkin (MI-07-D).
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding authorized by Congress will provide a record $3.125 billion in U.S. investments in and around the Great Lakes over 5 years. In recent years the GLRI has been funded by the U.S. at around $300 million annually. By comparison, the Government of Canada committed just $32.97 million (USD) between 2017 and 2022, with plans for a $9M annual commitment ($6.6M USD) moving forward.
An analysis conducted five years ago by the University of Michigan found that each dollar invested by the U.S. government through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative generated an economic return of $3.35 across all regions and even greater economic activity in some regions.
Congressmembers Higgins and Huizenga are members of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force and Co-Chairs of the Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group. Rep. Higgins’ Western New York district borders Lakes Erie and Ontario. Rep. Huizenga’s Southwestern Michigan district borders Lake Michigan.