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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

May 9, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, released the following statement after it was announced that the U.S. Geological Survey will monitor water levels around Nestlé’s water bottling operation in Michigan:

May 9, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17) introduced the PFAS Waste Incineration Ban Act. The legislation would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prohibit the incineration of firefighting foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Additionally, the bill would require the EPA to identify other wastes containing PFAS and prohibit their incineration.

May 9, 2019 Press Release

New Bipartisan Bill Helps Hold Manufacturers, Producers Accountable for PFAS Contamination

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, along with Congressmen Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Mike Gallagher (WI-08) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) today introduced H.R. 2577, bipartisan legislation that would require per-and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS) to be listed on the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

May 9, 2019 Press Release

U.S. Reps Dan Kildee (MI-05), Fred Upton (MI-06), Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Tim Walberg (MI-7) today introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2626, the PFAS Federal Facility Accountability Act of 2019, that requires federal agencies to cooperate with states as PFAS contamination is detected in communities near federal installations such as active military installations, former military installations, or National Guard facilities.

May 7, 2019 Press Release

Maps Help Assess Ecological Risks of Oil Spill & Natural Disaster; Great Lakes Maps Have Not Been Updated in Over 20 Years

 

May 7, 2019 Press Release

Kildee, Co-Chair of the PFAS Task Force, Visits Two Congressional Districts Affected with Toxic Chemicals to Continue Push for Federal Action on PFAS

May 2, 2019 Press Release

Climate Action Now Act Would Combat Climate Change, Support Michigan’s Economy

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today applauded the passage of H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would require the Trump Administration to remain in the Paris Climate Accord, a global effort to combat climate change and its impacts.

April 30, 2019 Press Release

Bipartisan Bill Would Require EPA to Protect Americans from PFAS in Drinking Water

April 10, 2019 Press Release

Legislation would allow an additional 400,000 electric vehicles per manufacturer to be eligible for tax credit

April 4, 2019 Press Release

Legislation Requires Department of Veterans’ Affairs to Cover Health Conditions Linked to PFAS Chemical Contamination on Military Bases