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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

September 12, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, released the following statement after President Trump repealed clean water regulations to protect the environment and ensure clean water:

“At a time when communities across the country, including Flint and Oscoda, are living with unsafe drinking water, President Trump has decided to weaken protections for our water and reward corporate polluters. This short-sighted decision is an assault on the water we drink, our Great Lakes and the wetlands that support fish, ducks and other wildlife.

September 10, 2019 Press Release

“This is Ridiculous,” Kildee Calls Out PFAS Manufacturers’ Hypocrisy and Unwillingness to Take Responsibility for PFAS Chemicals

September 4, 2019 Press Release

Kildee, Levin, Fitzpatrick and Dingell lead letter urging lawmakers to keep House and Senate PFAS provisions in NDAA

July 25, 2019 Press Release

Kildee Leads Bipartisan Letter Asking for Answers on the Defense Department’s Role and Response to Chemical Contamination


WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Inspector General to ask it to review the DoD’s use of and response to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at military sites. 31 Republicans and Democrats joined Congressman Kildee in sending the letter.

July 11, 2019 Press Release

Bipartisan Amendments Would Help Clean-up, Identify PFAS-Contaminated Sites

The U.S. House of Representatives adopted amendments introduced by Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in Michigan and across the country. The amendments passed and will be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2020, which is expected to be voted on by the House tomorrow.

July 10, 2019 Press Release

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (­­D-IL) today re-introduced the National Opportunity for Lead Exposure Accountability and Deterrence (NO LEAD) Act to help ensure drinking water across our nation is safe from lead and copper contamination.

June 25, 2019 Press Release

Kildee Secured $46 Million Increase in this Year’s House Funding Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a bill that included $60 million to clean up per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) around prior military installations, like the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda. Congressman Kildee, Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, worked to boost this investment from $14 million last year to $60 million this year.

June 19, 2019 Press Release

Reps. Kildee, Kaptur Increase Federal Commitment to Combatting Grass Carp in House Spending Bill

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing their amendment to double federal funding through the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission to combat grass carp, an invasive species threatening the Great Lakes.

June 19, 2019 Press Release

An amendment by Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has been included in the Defense appropriations bill being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, slated for final passage Wednesday afternoon.

Kildee’s amendment increases the Army, Air Force, and Navy Environmental Restoration funds by a total of $15 million to clean up PFAS chemical contamination in and around active military bases across the country.

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: