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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 pursues its plans to permanently store nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin. For years, the Canadian power company, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), planned to develop a permanent nuclear waste site in Kincardine, Ontario—less than a mile from Lake Huron. I led the fight to successfully stop this nuclear waste facility, and in June 2020 OPG formally abandoned the project. Canada has now proposed another facility that would permanently bury almost 130 million pounds of high-level nuclear waste near the Great Lakes. High-level nuclear waste is the most dangerous form of nuclear waste and remains radioactive for generations.

On September 17, 2021, I introduced, along with Republicans and Democrats from across the Great Lakes region, a bipartisan resolution opposing the construction of a permanent nuclear waste facility in the Great Lakes Basin. I will continue to work in a bipartisan way to bring attention to this threat and seek an alternative location. Surely in the vast land mass that comprises Canada, there is a better place to permanently store nuclear waste than near our Great Lakes.

  • 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

September 16, 2021 Press Release

SAGINAW—Standing on the banks of the Saginaw River, Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today announced the introduction of a bipartisan resolution opposing Canada’s new plan to build a permanent nuclear waste storage site in the Great Lakes Basin.

September 16, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, has voted to advance a national budget that helps level the playing field for Michigan’s working families after a four-day legislative mark-up of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better budget in the Ways and Means Committee.

The budget bill now moves to the Budget Committee, of which Kildee is also a member, before moving to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for a full vote. 

September 15, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and member of the House Ways and Means Committee, today praised the Ways and Means Committee’s passage of his legislation to expand tax credits for middle class families to purchase an electric vehicle. The legislation passed as a part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Budget reconciliation bill.

September 13, 2021 Press Release

FLINT—Following the publication of the House Ways and Means Committee’s budget reconciliation legislation that included Congressman Dan Kildee’s (MI-05) legislation to expand the electric vehicle tax credit, labor unions, automakers, environmental organizations and other key Members of Congress issued statements in support:

League of Conservation Voters

September 9, 2021 Press Release

FLINT—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, has secured $80 million in President Joe Biden’s budget reconciliation bill for fire departments in Michigan and across the country to replace firefighting foam and gear that contains toxic per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) chemicals. 

September 2, 2021 Press Release

FLINT—Congressman Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and Senators Gary Peters (MI) and Debbie Stabenow (MI) urged the U.S. Air Force to take more significant steps to address PFAS contamination in Van Etten Lake near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. In their letter, the members expressed their concerns that the Air Force’s proposed remediation plan fails to comprehensively address PFAS contamination by only covering part of the plume in question.

September 2, 2021 Press Release

FLINT—Congressman Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, announced today that the city of Flint will receive $2,283,960 in federal funding to protect children and families from exposure to lead-based paint. The grant, awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will fund a comprehensive program to identify and remove lead-based paint hazards in homes in Flint.

August 24, 2021 Press Release

“The U.S. House of Representatives took a critical vote today to advance both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and budget that supports working families. Working alongside President Biden, I am committed to getting both bills signed into law as soon as possible because, together, these bills meet the needs of the people I represent.

August 18, 2021 Press Release

FLINT—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today announced $1 million in federal resources to help restore the Flint River Riverfront.

August 6, 2021 Press Release
FLINT—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today announced $2.6 million in federal funding to repair and reconstruct part of the Lake Linden Trail system that was recently damaged by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides.
 
The $2,652,405 federal grant, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will be distributed to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) to begin repairs and reconstruction. MDNR declared damage at 12 locations on the trail system due to severe flooding.