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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 28, 2021 Press Release

“A budget is a true statement of priorities and values. President Biden’s budget demonstrates he is committed to fighting for working-class families, not the wealthiest Americans. The President’s proposed budget makes critical investments to end this pandemic, rebuild our economy and protect the Great Lakes. 

May 18, 2021 Press Release

“It is great to have President Biden Back in Michigan to discuss the importance of the American auto industry and electric vehicles. Investing in electric vehicles is a win-win, helping to create good-paying Michigan jobs and combat the climate crisis. With our competitors like China investing heavily in electric vehicles and advanced battery technology, we must make similar investments to remain competitive in a global economy.

April 29, 2021 Press Release

“President Biden inherited a nation in crisis, including a raging pandemic and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. But with just 100 days in office, President Biden has already delivered results for the American people to defeat COVID-19 and get our economy back on track.

April 25, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today announced $140,000 in federal awards to replace five diesel school buses in the Clio Area School District and two buses in the Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools.

March 11, 2021 Press Release

I thank President Biden and his administration for taking steps to better protect public health. There is no safe level of lead and environmental regulations should be based on science, not convenience. I have long advocated that the Lead and Copper Rule is outdated and needs to be updated. Unfortunately, the previous administration wanted to allow toxic lead pipes to remain in use for decades, even after high levels of lead were detected in water.

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.