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 cosnstruction 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
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) issued the following statement today after a silver carp was caught in Illinois just 9 miles from the Great Lakes:
Lawmakers Request Information from Michigan, Ohio Departments of Natural Resources on Efforts to Eliminate Grass Carp from Lake Erie
WASHINGTON – Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today led a bipartisan letter, along with Representatives Tim Walberg (MI-07), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) and Dave Joyce (OH-14), to both the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), asking them to detail efforts in both states to eliminate grass carp, an invasive species, from Lake Erie.
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” for a wide-ranging interview on a number of important policy topics, including the President’s proposed budget, preserving Social Security and Medicare, investing in America’s older, industrial cities, fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, and protecting the Great Lakes.
On the program, Congressman Kildee called for Congress to immediately enact a “Marshall Plan” to invest in America’s older, industrial cities and towns, including Flint, Saginaw and Bay City.
“President Trump is failing to address one our country’s most pressing threats: climate change. Military and defense experts have concluded that climate change represents a major risk to our national security and have urged the President to develop a comprehensive strategy to address it. Instead, President Trump has dangerously decided to pull America out of the Paris Climate Agreement that seeks to address climate change, jeopardizing our domestic security and putting us at odds with our allies around the globe.
“Permanently storing nuclear waste less than a mile from the Great Lakes defies logic and common sense. Nuclear waste remains radioactive for thousands of years and would pose a major risk to our shared water resources. Neither the U.S. nor Canada can afford to jeopardize the health of the Great Lakes.
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) issued the following statement after the White House budget unveiled today completely eliminates funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI):
“I am pleased to see that the budget deal reached in Congress rejects President Trump’s proposed cuts to Great Lakes protection efforts. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has always had bipartisan support because it helps to protect the Great Lakes from harm, including from invasive species like Asian carp and pollution. 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.
Following reports that the Trump Administration plans to abolish Region 5 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – which serves Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio – as part of the fiscal year 2018 budget, U.S.
Several Michigan members of the House of Representatives are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to close a regional office in Chicago even though a spokeswoman for the agency said there are no such plans.
In a Thursday, April 27, letter signed by eight members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Twp., the legislators ask EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to keep the office open.
“If true, the closure of the EPA’s Region 5 office – which serves Michigan and other states in the Great Lakes region – is very concerning. The EPA’s mission is simple: to protect public health and our environment. Their work continues to be vital in helping Flint recover from the water crisis, including providing ongoing water testing for residents and technical assistance to the city’s water plant.