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
The Sierra Club has awarded Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) its highest award for public officials for his tireless efforts to help Flint families recover from the ongoing water crisis.
The Edgar Wayburn award was presented to Congressman Kildee in Washington, D.C. Friday evening during a reception that brought together leaders from Michigan and around the country. The Sierra Club, one of the nation’s largest environmental organizations, represents more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide, including over 80,000 in Michigan.
Environmental Sensitivity Index Maps Have Not Been Updated in Two Decades; Maps Help to Assess and Respond to Risk of Potential Natural Disasters, Oil Spills
“In 2013, one of my first votes as a Member of Congress was in support of aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast. This storm did not affect my district in Michigan, but I proudly cast my vote to help the families in need because as Americans, that is what we do. We come together to help those in crisis, just like when Congress voted to send an aid package I championed to my hometown of Flint during its water crisis. I will be forever grateful for that support during Flint’s time of need.
“I welcome the release of this report that was long delayed by the Trump Administration. Asian carp pose a real and immediate threat to our Great Lakes and they must be taken seriously. Billions of dollars in economic activity depend on protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species like Asian carp.
Kildee and Bipartisan Group of Members of Congress Introduce Amendment to Force the Trump Administration to Release Existing Report on Combatting Asian Carp
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.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers from Great Lakes states wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, urging him to stop the Canadian plan to build a nuclear waste repository less than a mile from Lake Huron in Ontario.
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.