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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

February 11, 2021 Press Release

FLINT — Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today, along with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12), led a new effort to get additional economic relief for families with high water bills.

January 29, 2021 Press Release

FLINT—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and co-chair of the Congressional PFAS Task Force, today sent a letter to the Biden administration outlining actions they should take to address harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals.

January 20, 2021 Press Release

“I applaud President Biden for rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement. Military and defense experts have concluded that climate change represents a major risk to our national security. Climate change is connected to the destruction of property and loss of life from stronger, more frequent storms. We have a moral responsibility to recognize that climate change is real and requires urgent action to ensure we leave a better world for our children.

January 4, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, announced today that bipartisan legislation to update the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps in the Great Lakes was signed into law by President Donald Trump.

December 23, 2020 Press Release

FLINT—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, along with U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI), today announced $4.5 million in federal funding for the Flint Lead Registry as a part of year-end appropriations legislation, commonly referred to as the omnibus bill.

December 22, 2020 Press Release

“The Trump administration’s new Lead and Copper Rule fails to protect public health. I have long advocated that the Lead and Copper Rule is outdated and needs to be updated. But today’s rule allows millions of toxic lead pipes to remain in the ground. Sadly, it will do nothing to stop the next Flint water crisis from happening in other communities across the country.

December 17, 2020 Press Release

“Congresswoman Deb Haaland is an outstanding choice by President-elect Biden to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior.

December 16, 2020 Press Release

“I thank President-elect Joe Biden for making clear that combatting climate change will be a top priority in his administration. We are already seeing first-hand the effects climate change is having on our Great Lakes, including record lake levels and threats of invasive species like Asian carp.

December 4, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, today led a bipartisan letter, signed by 58 other Members of Congress, to House and Senate Appropriations Committees, in support of robust funding in the Fiscal

December 3, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today applauded the passage of S. 1342, the Great Lakes Environmental Sensitivity Index Act, legislation he co-authored with Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI). This bipartisan legislation prioritizes and updates federal mapping of the Great Lakes, which are used to respond to emergencies and protect habitat, species and structures that are most likely to be impacted by a potential oil spill or other major disaster.