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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 pursues its plans to permanently store nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin. For years, the Canadian power company, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), planned to develop a permanent nuclear waste site in Kincardine, Ontario—less than a mile from Lake Huron. I led the fight to successfully stop this nuclear waste facility, and in June 2020 OPG formally abandoned the project. Canada has now proposed another facility that would permanently bury almost 130 million pounds of high-level nuclear waste near the Great Lakes. High-level nuclear waste is the most dangerous form of nuclear waste and remains radioactive for generations.

On September 17, 2021, I introduced, along with Republicans and Democrats from across the Great Lakes region, a bipartisan resolution opposing the construction of a permanent nuclear waste facility in the Great Lakes Basin. I will continue to work in a bipartisan way to bring attention to this threat and seek an alternative location. Surely in the vast land mass that comprises Canada, there is a better place to permanently store nuclear waste than near our Great Lakes.

  • 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

December 7, 2021 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 highlighted $95 million in new federal funds to help fire departments in Michigan and across the country replace firefighting foam and gear that contains toxic per- and polyfluorinated (PFAS) chemicals.

December 3, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today announced $213,201,000 in federal funds have been awarded to the state of Michigan to improve water infrastructure and ensure clean drinking water.

November 19, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today applauded the passage of the Build Back Better Act—a bill that will help lower everyday costs for Michigan’s working families. The Build Back Better Act, which is fully paid for, will cut taxes for middle class families and lower the out-of-pocket cost of health insurance premiums, prescription drugs and child care, in addition to combatting the climate crisis.

November 18, 2021 Press Release

“Canada is an important ally and trading partner to the United States with whom we work on many binational issues, including protecting the Great Lakes. We are disappointed the Canadian government has proposed building a permanent nuclear waste repository in the Great Lakes basin, threatening the drinking water of more than 40 million people on both sides of the border. A growing number of Members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, are opposed to this dangerous proposal.

November 15, 2021 Press Release

“This bipartisan infrastructure bill is the largest investment in nearly a century to rebuild roads, repair bridges, replace lead pipes and expand broadband. With this bill, President Biden and Democrats in Congress have delivered for Michigan. For decades, our state’s infrastructure has deteriorated and been under-funded. Michiganders have felt the impact of this disinvestment in their everyday lives, from paying for car repairs caused by our crumbling roads to worrying about the safety of their family’s drinking water.

November 9, 2021 Press Release

FLINT—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, and Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), today sent a letter to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urging the agency to ensure airports are able to use PFAS-free firefighting foam.

November 5, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today applauded the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—the largest investment in America’s infrastructure and economic competitiveness in nearly a century. The bipartisan bill, supported by Democrats and Republicans, will provide much-needed federal funding for roads, bridges, public transit, rail and water infrastructure in mid-Michigan and across the country.

October 18, 2021 Press Release

“We have known for many years that harmful PFAS chemicals pose a serious health risk to Americans are present in every community across the country. For far too long, the federal government has failed to take the threat of PFAS chemicals seriously. I commend President Biden and his administration for outlining its plan, with specific deadlines, to address this public health crisis more urgently. The EPA must hold polluters, including the Defense Department, accountable. We must act to clean up PFAS chemical contamination now to protect our communities.”

October 8, 2021 Press Release

FLINT—Congressman Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today announced $60,000 in federal funds to help Oscoda Township fund the design of a new, non-motorized pathway that will connect residents to local small local businesses.

October 5, 2021 Press Release

HOWELL—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today thanked President Joe Biden for endorsing his legislation in Congress to expand the existing consumer tax credit for electric vehicles and add incentives for vehicles made with union labor.