(House of Representatives - April 26, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 64 (Tuesday, April 26, 2016)]
[Pages H1954-H1957]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 223) to authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and for 
other purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                H.R. 223

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Great Lakes Restoration 
     Initiative Act of 2016''.


       Section 118(c)(7) of the Federal Water Pollution Control 
     Act (33 U.S.C. 1268(c)(7)) is amended--
       (1) by striking subparagraphs (B) and (C) and inserting the 
       ``(B) Focus areas.--In carrying out the Initiative, the 
     Administrator shall prioritize programs and projects, to be 
     carried out in coordination with non-Federal partners, that 
     address the priority areas described in the Initiative Action 
     Plan, including--
       ``(i) the remediation of toxic substances and areas of 
       ``(ii) the prevention and control of invasive species and 
     the impacts of invasive species;
       ``(iii) the protection and restoration of nearshore health 
     and the prevention and mitigation of nonpoint source 
       ``(iv) habitat and wildlife protection and restoration, 
     including wetlands restoration and preservation; and
       ``(v) accountability, monitoring, evaluation, 
     communication, and partnership activities.
       ``(C) Projects.--
       ``(i) In general.--In carrying out the Initiative, the 
     Administrator shall collaborate with other Federal partners, 
     including the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force established 
     by Executive Order 13340 (69 Fed. Reg. 29043), to select the 
     best combination of programs and projects for Great Lakes 
     protection and restoration using appropriate principles and 
     criteria, including whether a program or project provides--

       ``(I) the ability to achieve strategic and measurable 
     environmental outcomes that implement the Initiative Action 
     Plan and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement;
       ``(II) the feasibility of--

       ``(aa) prompt implementation;
       ``(bb) timely achievement of results; and
       ``(cc) resource leveraging; and

       ``(III) the opportunity to improve interagency, 
     intergovernmental, and inter-organizational coordination and 
     collaboration to reduce duplication and streamline efforts.

       ``(ii) Outreach.--In selecting the best combination of 
     programs and projects for Great Lakes protection and 
     restoration under clause (i), the Administrator shall consult 
     with the Great Lakes States and Indian tribes and solicit 
     input from other non-Federal stakeholders.
       ``(iii) Harmful algal bloom coordinator.--The Administrator 
     shall designate a point person from an appropriate Federal 
     partner to coordinate, with Federal partners and Great Lakes 
     States, Indian tribes, and other non-Federal stakeholders, 
     projects and activities under the Initiative involving 
     harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes.'';
       (2) in subparagraph (D)--
       (A) by striking clause (i) and inserting the following:
       ``(i) In general.--Subject to subparagraph (J)(ii), funds 
     made available to carry out the Initiative shall be used to 
     strategically implement--

       ``(I) Federal projects;
       ``(II) projects carried out in coordination with States, 
     Indian tribes, municipalities, institutions of higher 
     education, and other organizations; and
       ``(III) operations and activities of the Program Office, 
     including remediation of sediment contamination in areas of 

       (B) in clause (ii)(I), by striking ``(G)(i)'' and inserting 
     ``(J)(i)''; and
       (C) by inserting after clause (ii) the following:
       ``(iii) Agreements with non-federal entities.--

       ``(I) In general.--The Administrator, or the head of any 
     other Federal department or agency receiving funds under 
     clause (ii)(I), may make a grant to, or otherwise enter into 
     an agreement with, a qualified non-Federal entity, as 
     determined by the Administrator or the applicable head of the 
     other Federal department or agency receiving funds, for 
     planning, research, monitoring, outreach, or implementation 
     of a project selected under subparagraph (C), to support the 
     Initiative Action Plan or the Great Lakes Water Quality 
       ``(II) Qualified non-federal entity.--For purposes of this 
     clause, a qualified non-Federal entity may include a 
     governmental entity, nonprofit organization, institution, or 
     individual.''; and

       (3) by striking subparagraphs (E) through (G) and inserting 
     the following:
       ``(E) Scope.--
       ``(i) In general.--Projects may be carried out under the 
     Initiative on multiple levels, including--

       ``(I) locally;
       ``(II) Great Lakes-wide; or
       ``(III) Great Lakes basin-wide.

       ``(ii) Limitation.--No funds made available to carry out 
     the Initiative may be used for any water infrastructure 
     activity (other than a

[[Page H1955]]

     green infrastructure project that improves habitat and other 
     ecosystem functions in the Great Lakes) for which financial 
     assistance is received--

       ``(I) from a State water pollution control revolving fund 
     established under title VI;
       ``(II) from a State drinking water revolving loan fund 
     established under section 1452 of the Safe Drinking Water Act 
     (42 U.S.C. 300j-12); or
       ``(III) pursuant to the Water Infrastructure Finance and 
     Innovation Act of 2014 (33 U.S.C. 3901 et seq.).

       ``(F) Activities by other federal agencies.--Each relevant 
     Federal department or agency shall, to the maximum extent 
       ``(i) maintain the base level of funding for the Great 
     Lakes activities of that department or agency without regard 
     to funding under the Initiative; and
       ``(ii) identify new activities and projects to support the 
     environmental goals of the Initiative.
       ``(G) Revision of initiative action plan.--
       ``(i) In general.--Not less often than once every 5 years, 
     the Administrator, in conjunction with the Great Lakes 
     Interagency Task Force, shall review, and revise as 
     appropriate, the Initiative Action Plan to guide the 
     activities of the Initiative in addressing the restoration 
     and protection of the Great Lakes system.
       ``(ii) Outreach.--In reviewing and revising the Initiative 
     Action Plan under clause (i), the Administrator shall consult 
     with the Great Lakes States and Indian tribes and solicit 
     input from other non-Federal stakeholders.
       ``(H) Monitoring and reporting.--The Administrator shall--
       ``(i) establish and maintain a process for monitoring and 
     periodically reporting to the public on the progress made in 
     implementing the Initiative Action Plan;
       ``(ii) make information about each project carried out 
     under the Initiative Action Plan available on a public 
     website; and
       ``(iii) provide to the House Committee on Transportation 
     and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Environment 
     and Public Works a yearly detailed description of the 
     progress of the Initiative and amounts transferred to 
     participating Federal departments and agencies under 
     subparagraph (D)(ii).
       ``(I) Initiative action plan defined.--In this paragraph, 
     the term `Initiative Action Plan' means the comprehensive, 
     multi-year action plan for the restoration of the Great 
     Lakes, first developed pursuant to the Joint Explanatory 
     Statement of the Conference Report accompanying the 
     Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies 
     Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law 111-88).
       ``(J) Funding.--
       ``(i) In general.--There is authorized to be appropriated 
     to carry out this paragraph $300,000,000 for each of fiscal 
     years 2017 through 2021.
       ``(ii) Limitation.--Nothing in this paragraph creates, 
     expands, or amends the authority of the Administrator to 
     implement programs or projects under--

       ``(I) this section;
       ``(II) the Initiative Action Plan; or
       ``(III) the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Ohio (Mr. Gibbs) and the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio) each will 
control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Ohio.

                             General Leave

  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous materials on H.R. 223, as amended.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Ohio?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to bring up H.R. 223, the 
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016, introduced by my Ohio 
colleague, Congressman Dave Joyce, on the floor today.
  The Great Lakes are an important resource for the United States. More 
than 30 million people live in the Great Lakes region, and the lakes 
help support over $200 billion a year in economic activity.
  The Great Lakes Interagency Task Force of Federal agencies was 
created in 2004 by executive order to help ensure coordination between 
the Federal, State, and private parties protecting and restoring the 
Great Lakes.
  In 2010, the task force released an action plan as part of the Great 
Lakes Restoration Initiative to accelerate efforts to protect and 
restore the Great Lakes.
  Under the Initiative, the Environmental Protection Agency 
collaborates with other Federal partners, including the Great Lakes 
Interagency Task Force, to select the best combination of projects and 
activities for Great Lakes protection and restoration.
  In September of 2014, the Federal agencies released an updated Action 
Plan II, which summarizes the actions that the Federal agencies plan to 
implement during fiscal years 2015 through 2019.
  The Action Plan aims to strategically target the biggest threats to 
the Great Lakes ecosystem and to accelerate progress toward long-term 
  H.R. 223 will formally authorize the Great Lakes Restoration 
Initiative for 5 years and modifies the program based on 
recommendations that the Committee received from stakeholders, 
hearings, and the GAO reports on EPA's activities during multiple years 
of oversight.
  The bill is a positive step forward for the Great Lakes region and 
the United States as a whole as we continue to prioritize protection 
and restoration of one of our Nation's most valuable resources.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 223, the Great Lakes 
Restoration Initiative Act of 2016. This bill extends the Great Lakes 
Restoration Initiative, a program which has had bipartisan support 
among the Great Lakes delegation for 5 years.
  I want to thank my colleagues, Representatives David Joyce, Dan 
Lipinski, and Rick Nolan, for their hard work and effort to extend the 
authorization of appropriations for this program through fiscal year 
  These and other members of the Midwest delegation worked diligently 
to get this legislation to the floor for consideration. I want to thank 
them all for a job well done.
  It accelerates efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes, the 
largest system of surface freshwater in the world.
  Through unprecedented Federal agency coordination and the development 
of partnerships with the Great Lakes States and local communities, the 
initiative has already funded more than 2,000 projects to improve water 
quality, protect and restore native habitats, and prevent and control 
invasive species in the Great Lakes.
  Mr. Speaker, legislation similar to this bill was included in the 
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. However, that authorization 
was only for 1 fiscal year. This legislation provides for a full 5-year 
  That timeline is necessary to allow many longer term projects to be 
planned, capitalized, and completed.
  Further, this bill will allow States and local communities to 
coordinate their efforts to combat harmful algal blooms in the Great 
Lakes for the first time.
  The harmful algal blooms that shut down the drinking water system in 
Toledo, Ohio, for 3 days in 2014 and that re-emerged in 2015 are still 
fresh in our memories.
  For this reason, I am pleased that this legislation includes the text 
of H.R. 1923, sponsored by the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Ryan), to 
require EPA to appoint a Federal coordinator to work with the Federal 
agencies, the States, the tribes, and other stakeholders to address the 
recurring challenges of algal blooms in the Great Lakes.
  This coordinator will ensure that GLRI funds are utilized in the most 
efficient and effective way to reduce nutrients finding their way into 
the lakes.
  Lastly, this bill includes a savings clause to clarify that the GLRI 
authorization does not expand the regulatory authority of EPA related 
to restoration of the Great Lakes.
  I did not advocate for this provision. However, let's make it clear 
here today on the floor that this language should not be interpreted as 
preventing EPA or other Federal agencies from continuing to utilize 
their existing authorities to address ongoing water quality challenges 
facing the lakes.
  Accordingly, this bill should help ensure that the Federal 
departments are able to fund work using all the existing tools in the 
toolbox that cause harmful algal blooms and other pollution and prevent 
Asian carp from invading the lakes, which would be a disaster, and 
clean up areas of concern and other high-priority threats.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 223.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to my colleague from Ohio

[[Page H1956]]

(Mr. Joyce), who has been a strong advocate for the protection of the 
Great Lakes and a sponsor of the bill.

  Mr. JOYCE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 223, the 
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016.
  First, I want to thank my good friend, Bob Gibbs of Ohio, for helping 
me to shepherd this legislation through the Transportation and 
Infrastructure Committee.
  I also want to thank Chairman Shuster for lending a hand and 
providing guidance on this.
  Now, I know I may sound like a broken record, but one of the greatest 
natural resources and economic powerhouses we have in the United States 
and the world, for that matter, is the Great Lakes.
  I think the resource is incredibly important because, in the future, 
freshwater is going to be the new gold. And, if you believe that like I 
do, you understand why the Great Lakes are so important.
  Let me give you a few quick facts about this treasure. The Great 
Lakes contains one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.
  The Great Lakes contain about 85 percent of the fresh surface water 
in North America.
  In the U.S., the Great Lakes account for 95 percent of the fresh 
surface water. That is a lot of fresh water.
  If you took the water and spread it evenly across the Continental 
United States, the Great Lakes would submerge our country under 9\1/2\ 
feet of water.
  These lakes provide more than 35 million people with their drinking 
water. These Great Lakes support more than 3,500 species of plants and 
  Studies have shown that more than 1\1/2\ million jobs are connected 
to the five lakes, and they generate $62 billion in wages.
  Now, I know I have uttered those facts around the Capitol like a 
broken record since I got here, as have others, but these are powerful 
in telling our story.
  An investment in protecting this national treasure is a small down 
payment in protecting the drinking water for millions of people.
  This legislation will continue to make sure that we look at these 
Great Lakes as a national treasure and coordinate our investment in 
protecting them. Please stand with me today in sending a message to 
protect and preserve our Great Lakes.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Ohio (Mr. Ryan).
  Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman, and I also 
thank my colleagues from Ohio. This has been one of the true bipartisan 
issues that we have dealt with.
  So I would like to thank Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Joyce, Ms. Kaptur, Marcia 
Fudge, Jim Renacci, also, Pete Visclosky, and Chris Collins.
  As you just heard from Mr. Joyce, the Great Lakes are a huge issue. 
But, also, for us, Lake Erie is a huge issue. My legislation was put 
into this bill to require the EPA to appoint a coordinator to address 
the issue of harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes.
  We have so many groups that are interested, but we need the EPA to 
help coordinate. Our friends helped get this language into this bill, 
and I am deeply grateful for that.
  These harmful algal blooms affect over half a million Ohioans. It did 
in 2014. Lake Erie provides clean drinking water for approximately 3 
million Ohioans, many of them up and around the Cleveland and Toledo 
  In August 2014, we had an environmental disaster caused by a harmful 
algal bloom that left nearly 500,000 residents of Toledo and the 
western basin without safe drinking water for 3 days.
  Lake Erie's tourist industry generates $12.9 billion in visitor 
spending, including 119,000 jobs, and contributes $1.7 billion in 
Federal, State, and local taxes.
  This crisis just continues to build, and it is critical that we start 
working together to come up with a plan to stem the growing tide.
  The Great Lakes' abundance of fresh water is a vital resource and a 
strategic advantage, and it is critical that we do everything in our 
power to combat the threats to the Great Lakes that threaten the health 
and well-being of Ohio and other States surrounding the Great Lakes.
  So we must do everything we can. This language helps to make that 
happen. This language will ensure that there is a coordinator at the 
EPA to work with the appropriate Federal, State, local, tribal, and 
foreign governments to address this critical issue affecting the State 
of Ohio.
  As we see the changes in our economy and as we see what is happening 
out west, we are reminded every single day how critical and how lucky 
we are, those of us who live in the Great Lakes region, to be able to 
access this fresh water.
  So, again, I thank my friends from Ohio. I thank Mr. Shuster from 
this committee, Mr. DeFazio, and others who helped make this happen and 
for including this language in the bill.

     Hon. Tim Ryan,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Congressman Ryan: We write in support of H.R. 1923, 
     your bill requiring the administrator of the U.S. 
     Environmental Protection Agency to appoint a Great Lakes 
     Harmful Algal Bloom Coordinator, which is now part of H.R. 
     223, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2015. 
     Thank you for your leadership and for being a champion for 
     our Great Lakes, particularly Lake Erie.
       Currently there are many efforts underway to reduce the 
     number of harmful algal blooms throughout the Great Lakes, 
     such as in Lake Erie, Saginaw and Green Bays, and Fox River. 
     These efforts, however, are not always coordinated to 
     leverage resources and share vital information. Appointing a 
     coordinator ensures resources are used effectively and 
     efficiently and that federal, state, and local agencies, 
     tribal governments, universities and non-governmental 
     organizations are working collaboratively to reduce 
     phosphorus flowing into the Great Lakes. The first step is a 
     coordinator to ensure everyone is working together to address 
     these complex issues.
       A coordinator could not come quickly enough. Lake Erie is 
     the canary in the coal mine of what is to come for freshwater 
     bodies if the nation does not solve this problem. In 2015, 
     Lake Erie experienced a HAB that stretched from Michigan to 
     well past Cleveland and was the biggest bloom on record. In 
     2014 and 2013, residents in the Toledo area and Carroll 
     Township, respectively, went without tap water because of the 
     toxins produced by these blooms.
       As you know, over 30 million people rely on the Great Lakes 
     for their drinking water. We must take action now because the 
     longer we wait, the more serious and expensive this problem 
       Please let Kristy Meyer with the Ohio Environmental Council 
     know how we can be helpful in seeing this vital piece of 
     legislation become law.
       Heather Taylor-Miesle, Executive Director, Ohio 
     Environmental Council; Jill Ryan, Executive Director, 
     Freshwater Future; Molly Flanagan, Vice President, Policy, 
     Alliance for the Great Lakes; Cheryl Nenn, Riverkeeper, 
     Milwaukee Riverkeeper; Carol A. Stepien, Professor of 
     Ecology, Director, Lake Erie Science Center, University of 
     Toledo; Howard A. Lerner, Executive Director, Environmental 
     Law & Policy Center; Deanna White, State Director, Clean 
     Water Action Minnesota; Jennifer McKay, Policy Specialist, 
     Tipp of the Mitt Watershed; Melinda Hughes, President, Nature 
     Abounds; Michael Griffin, Executive Director, County 
     Executives of America; George Meyer, Executive Director, 
     Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.
       Sandy Bihn, Executive Director, Lake Erie Waterkeeper, Inc; 
     Jim Stouffer, President, Lake Erie Improvement Association; 
     Lynn McClure, Midwest Regional Director, National Parks 
     Conservation Association; Mike Shriberg, Regional Executive 
     Director, Great Lakes, National Wildlife Federation; Matt 
     Misicka, President, Ohio Conservation Federation; Paul 
     Pacholski, President, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association; Ray 
     Stewart, President, Ohio Wetland Association; Nicole Barker, 
     Executive Director, Save the Dunes; Joy Mulinex, Director of 
     Government Relations, Western Reserve Land Conservancy; Indra 
     Frank, MD, MPH, Environmental Health & Water Policy Director, 
     Hoosier Environmental Council; Brian Smith, Associate 
     Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
       Rick Novickis, MPH, RS, Director of Environmental Public 
     Health Services, Cuyahoga County Board of Health; J. Meiring 
     Borcherds, Watershed Coordinator, Mill Creek Watershed 
     Partnership; Ivan J. Hack, Jr., President, Headwaters 
     Chapter, Izaak Walton League of America; Sr. Rose Therese 
     Nolta, SSpS, Justice and Peace Coordinator, Holy Spirit 
     Missionary Sisters; Irene Senn, Coordinator, Religious 
     Coalition for the Great Lakes; Robert Stegmier, National 
     Director, Izaak Walton League of America; Josh Knights, 
     Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy, Ohio Chapter; 
     Christi Carlson, President, Friends of Euclid Creek; 
     Charlotte Jameson, Government Affairs Director, Michigan 
     League of Conservation Voters; Katie Rousseau, Director, 
     Clean Water Supply, Great Lakes, American Rivers; Denny 
     Caneff, Executive Director, River Alliance of Wisconsin; Todd 
     Ambs, Campaign Director, Healing Our Waters--Great Lakes 

[[Page H1957]]


  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Michigan (Mrs. Miller), who has fought for years to protect the Great 
  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. I thank the chairman for yielding the time.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my very, very, strong support 
for H.R. 223, which is the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 

                              {time}  1545

  Actually, as the chairman has said, protecting and preserving the 
Great Lakes has always been a principal advocacy for myself in all the 
years that I have been in public service, way before I came to the 
  I actually grew up on the Great Lakes. I still live on the Great 
Lakes. My family was in the marina business, so for us, the lakes were 
more than just a source of recreation, they put food on the table for 
my family. Like so many from the region, the Great Lakes are such a 
very proud, proud part of our heritage and of our identity.
  Our Great Lakes, as has been said, generate billions of dollars each 
and every year through the fishing and shipping industries and 
recreational activities. They account for 85 to 90 percent of this 
country's freshwater drinking supply and over 20 percent worldwide. 
There is actually more freshwater under the polar icecaps, but you 
cannot get at it. You can't get at it to drink it. You can get at the 
Great Lakes. That is why we are always wanting to protect the Great 
  Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, we have not been the best stewards of 
these magnificent lakes, and we owe it, I think, to future generations 
to help assure that they are protected and that they are preserved as 
well. One of the ways to do that, I believe, is through continued 
funding and support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
  For years, the administration has proposed budgets that include cuts 
of millions of dollars to the GLRI, but it is Congress--this Congress--
that has always stepped in to recover this funding. That is just one of 
the reasons that I support this bill, because it does authorize funding 
at the essential levels--$300 million--for the next 5 years.
  Mr. Speaker, I will also join my colleagues in pointing out that this 
is truly a bipartisan effort, as you can tell from the people that are 
on the floor this morning talking about this. Most of us are from the 
Great Lakes, whether it is Ohio, Michigan, or some of the other Great 
Lakes States. But it is not just a regional jewel, just a regional 
treasure, the Great Lakes are a national treasure and deserve to be 
protected in that way.
  Mr. Speaker, over the years I have seen firsthand the impact that 
GLRI is having on our lakes, whether that is dredging, or beach and 
shoreline restoration, fighting invasive species, all of these projects 
are so critical.
  Just last fall I was delighted to be part of the unveiling of $20 
million of GLRI grants for the Clinton River Restoration. The Clinton 
River, which flows through a major metropolitan area in southeast 
Michigan, is in desperate need of restoration. So this funding will go 
a long way in ensuring that the Clinton River is no longer an area of 
concern and has a thriving ecosystem and a watershed.
  Mr. Speaker, God gave us these magnificent, magnificent Great Lakes 
that have provided us with so much, but we need to be better stewards 
of them. Quite frankly, we have a lot of making up to do to Mother 
Nature--a lot of making up. I believe this bill goes a long way in 
bringing the necessary attention and the resources to a problem that we 
have long ago identified and need to address.
  Mr. Speaker, again, I strongly support H.R. 223, the Great Lakes 
Restoration Initiative Act, and I urge all my colleagues to support it 
as well.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Kildee).
  Mr. KILDEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, the ranking member, for 
yielding. I also want to thank the folks on both sides of the aisle for 
their great work on this Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, 
particularly my colleague from Michigan, Congresswoman Miller, who just 
spoke and who will be leaving Congress at the end of this year. She has 
been a defender of the Great Lakes for her entire time here. I think it 
is a fitting part of her legacy that this legislation, hopefully today, 
will pass this House of Representatives.
  Mr. Speaker, being from Michigan and being a part of the Great Lakes, 
really growing up around the lakes and in the lakes gives us a lot of 
pride in my home State. It is the greatest freshwater source, surface 
freshwater source on the planet, and provides drinking water to over 30 
million Americans.
  It is a great economic resource as well with great benefits to our 
entire Nation. It supports millions of jobs, and billions of income 
every year is derived from the dependence that we have on this great 
resource. It supports commerce, agriculture, transportation, and 
tourism. It is home to over 3,500 species of plants and animals. It is 
an incredible ecosystem.
  But we know that the threat to the lakes--the threats--multiple 
threats to the lakes--are real. From invasive species like Asian carp 
to toxic chemical contamination and to habitat loss, we have to do 
everything we can within our power to protect the Great Lakes and 
combat these really clear present threats.
  So I am really proud in a very bipartisan fashion to support full 
funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to protect and 
restore that which we have lost in the largest system of fresh water in 
the world.
  In the short time that the GLRI has been in place, we have made 
progress--and we know that this is an effective program--addressing 
longstanding environmental problems confronting the lakes. Over 2,500 
individual projects have already been implemented to improve water 
quality, to clean up contaminated shorelines, to protect and restore 
native habitats and species, and to control invasive species.
  Mr. Speaker, we are here because we know we have to do more. I join 
my colleagues in urging Congress to join us in supporting the economic 
and environmental health of the Great Lakes and making this a permanent 
part of American law.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I would just like to make a couple of closing comments. 
We had some hearings in my subcommittee on this, and part of our 
oversight responsibility is to make sure that taxpayer dollars are 
being spent the way they should be. We requested a GAO--a government 
accountability--report, and I am pleased to announce that the report 
came back very favorable, that the monies to be invested to protect the 
Great Lakes is being spent the way it is intended to be.

  The only negative that was in the report--which is really minor--was 
the agencies, the EPA needed to do a better job working together and 
communicating, and they already had started that when they got the 
report. So I want to assure our fiscal hawks out there that this money 
is being spent the way it is intended by Congress, and we got that as 
part of our oversight duty.
  Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I urge our support of H.R. 223 and to 
continue to protect and enhance the Great Lakes.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Gibbs) that the House suspend the rules and 
pass the bill, H.R. 223, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.