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W E E K L Y  U P D A T E  October 28,  2019
 
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NEMWI Releases Fact Sheet on EPA's Proposed Revisions to Lead and Copper Rule

Today the Northeast Midwest Institute released a fact sheet outlining the major revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule that the EPA announced on October 10th, 2019. The fact sheet breaks down each of the major updates and provides brief comments on the positive or negative impacts that these changes could have on the fight to remove lead from our drinking water. To read the fact sheet, follow the link here.

Please contact Senior Policy Analyst, Chris Askew-Merwin for more information.




Update: EPA Releases GLRI Action Plan III

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week released a new action plan to guide the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) through 2024. The GLRI Action Plan III will guide the actions of federal agencies and their many partners over the next five years to protect and restore the Great Lakes. The Action Plan can be viewed here.

The GLRI, which has received bipartisan support since its inception in FY 2010, has largely been funded by Congress at $300 million a year, with the House including $320 million for the GLRI in its FY 2020 Interior and Environment appropriations bill and the Senate including $301 million in its bill. Senator Gary Peters (MI) has filed an amendment to the Senate bill that would increase the Senate's GLRI amount to $320 million. Additionally, Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI), Rob Portman (OH), and Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Representatives Dave Joyce (OH) and Marcy Kaptur (OH) have introduced legislation that would extend the GLRI's authorization for five-additional years starting in FY 2022 at $375 million and increasing it by $25 million per year to $475 million in FY 2026.

Please contact Matt McKenna, Director of the Great Lakes Washington Program, if you have any questions.
Briefing Update: Efficiently Funding the Soo Locks

The Great Lakes Governors & Premiers and the Northeast-Midwest Institute co-hosted a briefing on Thursday, October 17, focusing on the importance of the construction of a new Soo Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. In 2018, Congress authorized the construction of a new "Poe-sized" Lock at full federal expense after the US Army Corps of Engineers completed a benefit-cost analysis that favorably rated the construction of a new Lock. The Great Lakes Governors & Premiers, along with a large coalition of regional stakeholders, continue to support this important project, and have called on Congress to provide the necessary funds for this critical project in FY 2020 and in future budget and appropriations cycles.

Both the House and Senate FY 2020 Energy and Water Appropriations bills include $75.3 million for the construction of a new Lock, which is what was included in the President's FY 2020 budget request. The bill has been approved by the full House and the Senate Appropriations Committee, but has yet to be considered by the full Senate. Additionally, if Congress provides additional funds in the FY 2020 E&W Appropriations bill for the US Army Corps' FY 2020 Work Plan, the Corps could allocate up to $48.5 million in additional funds for the new Lock in addition to the $75.3 that's included the House and Senate bills. 

Presenters at the briefing included Mike Piskur, Program Manager, Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers; Vanta Coda, CEO, Ports of Indiana; Larry Karnes,Freight Policy Specialist, Michigan Department of Transportation; and Tom Rayburn, Director of Environmental & Regulatory Affairs, Lake Carriers Association. 

An audio recording of the briefing can be accessed through this  link. Presentation slides can be found  here.

Please contact  Matt McKenna, Director of the Great Lakes Washington Program, if you have any questions.


Briefing Addresses Improved Coastal Resilience in the Northeast

A Congressional briefing by the Environment and Energy Study Institute (EESI) on Wednesday discussed coastal climate resilience, more specifically, nature based adaptation resilience. Nature based solutions are actions that work with nature to enhance adaptation to disasters and change. The EESI briefing discussed how federal, state, and local governments are involved with coastal restoration by working with non-profits and businesses to ensure the best outcome for the Northeast region. To further explain how nature based solutions can be achieved, the panelists described the process and buy-in for resilience projects. 

Sara Burns, Water Resource Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, discussed the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program (MVP), in Massachusetts, that provides communities with help to develop action orientated resiliency plans. Ms. Burns also explained how nature based solutions are able to receive action grants to fund projects. For instance, MVP alone was able to complete 67 projects with the help of a $15.3 million action grant. 

Kate Boicourt, Director of Resilience at Waterfront Alliance, presented a roadmap to resilience in New York and New Jersey. Devastation from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 caused both states to develop plans to  adapt to sea level rise and coastal storms; strategic planning that has never been more important. Waterfront Alliance is building a consensus of what needs to be done at a policy level and is working with over 400 civic organizations, grass root companies, and elected officials/agencies.   

Sam Belknap, Community Development Officer, Sea Level Rise Project Lead at The Island Institute, explained how Maine is a rural state with small communities that are vulnerable to sea level rise and climate change impacts. Because of that, Mr. Belknap stressed the need for direct investment in the state as well as the action being taken to improve infrastructure and community resilience. 

To listen to a recording of the briefing and to access the presentation slides, click  here .


This Week in Washington

In the Senate:


In the House:

 

NEMWI: Strengthening the Region that Sustains the Nation