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Environment and the Great Lakes

Michigan is a beautiful state, home to an abundance of natural resources. It’s our responsibility to preserve our water, land and air for future generations. I represent 118 miles of beautiful Lake Huron shoreline and I assure you that protecting our way of life in Michigan is one of my biggest priorities. It’s not just about protecting our environment; our Great Lakes are job creators. The Great Lakes propel our economy, generating billions in annual economic activity each year.

In Congress, I’ve spearheaded efforts to protect our Great Lakes from harm, including from:

  • Budget cuts: I have always opposed cutting funding for the Great Lakes, both when President Obama proposed a modest cut, and recently when President Trump proposed complete elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The GLRI, long supported by Republicans and Democrats, helps to protect the Great Lakes from harm, including cleaning up pollution and combatting the threat of invasive species like Asian carp. In eliminating Great Lakes restoration funding, President Trump is threatening our state’s jobs, our livelihood and our way of life.

These are very real threats not only to the Great Lakes, but our economy in Michigan. It is vital that we protect the Great Lakes, now and in the future, because they help to generate billions in annual economic activity and support 1.5 million good-paying jobs in the tourism, boating and fishing industries. Along with a bipartisan group of members, I have urged President Trump to fully fund the GLRI, and I will continue to fight to protect funding for our Great Lakes – our way of life depends on it.

  • Canadian nuclear waste: The health of our Great Lakes could be in jeopardy if Canada moves forward with a plan to build a permanent nuclear waste facility in Kincardine, Ontario – six-tenths of a mile from Lake Huron. The proposed site would house up to 52 million gallons of nuclear waste that could remain radioactive for generations.

On March 15, 2017, along with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, I introduced a resolution expressing opposition to the construction of a nuclear waste repository. Burying nuclear waste on the shores of the Great Lakes is an unnecessary threat to our fresh water lakes, which would be forever changed if they were contaminated. Surely in the vast land mass that comprises Canada, there must be a better place to permanently store nuclear waste than on the shores of the Great Lakes. I continue to work with Democrats and Republicans to call attention to this threat and seek an alternative location.

  • Aquaculture: For-profit commercial fish farming, commonly referred to as aquaculture, also poses a threat to our lakes, rivers and ponds. If not done correctly, it has been shown to increase pollution, destroy sensitive fish habitats, spread disease and introduce non-native species. That is why I introduced legislation to ban harmful aquaculture practices in both the Great Lakes and federally designated “Wild and Scenic Rivers,” which includes the Au Sable River. Banning aquaculture has support from a vast majority of Michiganders, as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and conservation groups.
  • Invasive species: Invasive species are a threat to the health of the lakes’ ecosystems, and stopping invasive species, such as Asian carp, from entering the Great Lakes is a top priority. I have worked to make sure programs that fight invasive species are fully funded, fought against harmful aquaculture that can introduce invasive species, and co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to prioritize and enact long-term measures to stop the spread of invasive species.
  • Nestlé Water Withdrawals: In Michigan, we are blessed to have an abundance of fresh water, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we use these resources sustainably. That’s why I’m concerned about Nestlé, a multi-national corporation, seeking to dramatically increase its withdrawal of groundwater in Michigan. Nestlé is seeking to withdraw up to 400 gallons of Michigan water per minute out of the ground for their bottled water. According to their own analysis, this would extract more water from the ground than can be naturally replenished, harming wildlife habitats and wetlands. I have expressed my opposition to this proposal and will continue to speak out. We must manage our water resources sustainably - it is unfortunate that Nestlé is more concerned with corporate profits than protecting natural resources that support our state’s economy.

 

More on Environment and the Great Lakes

March 14, 2019 Press Release

Lawmakers Ask Air Force to Increase Investments in Clean-Up Around Former Wurtsmith Air Force Base

March 12, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the Budget Committee, issued the following statement after President Donald Trump released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget: 

“A budget is a true statement of priorities, and President Trump’s budget demonstrates he has left behind America’s middle class and most vulnerable families. The President’s proposed budget cuts housing, health care, food assistance and vital insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security that millions of people rely on to retire with dignity.

March 6, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on the Environment to urge more action to address and clean-up per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which Kildee called a “public health crisis.”

March 6, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on the Environment regarding the threat of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). A full transcript of his remarks as delivered are below:

“Thank you, Chairman Rouda and Ranking Member Comer, for inviting me to speak here today and for your leadership on this issue addressing PFAS chemicals, which is a public health crisis impacting literally hundreds of communities this country.

March 1, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, released the following statement today after the Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

February 21, 2019 Press Release

After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) release of their PFAS Action Plan, Reps. Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) are seeking clarification on actions before a new Administrator is confirmed.

February 14, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), founders and co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, issued a joint statement today on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) PFAS Action Plan:  

January 14, 2019 Press Release

Today, Representatives Dan Kildee (MI-05),  Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Fred Upton (MI-6) introduced bipartisan legislation that designates all PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances and allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up contaminated sites in Michigan and across the country.

December 19, 2018 Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Lead Action Plan that fails to address important measures

December 12, 2018 Press Release

Legislation Funds $50 Million to Search for PFAS in Water, Soil and Air

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-01) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help identify sites in Michigan and across the U.S. that may contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are toxic chemicals that are a threat to public health.