It’s been five years since the federal government’s largest initiative to restore the Great Lakes was passed into law, and Congress recently agreed to fund the program for another five years.
According to Cameron Davis, the senior adviser to the administrator of the EPA, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is one of the few pieces of legislation that repeatedly gets bi-partisan support.
He said that continued support has lead to some remarkable changes.
“I think we are making incredible progress. One of the things that we are finding is that some of the places around the Great Lakes that have been plagued by toxic pollution for decades are getting cleaned up and being taken off the list. For example White Lake in Michigan is one of those places, and were gonna keep movin’ ahead and keep taking these places off the list.”
Davis said the 1.5 billion dollars spent so far on the initiative should be viewed as an investment, not an expense.
“People who are fortunate enough to put money away for their retirement, you could call that an expense, but it’s not really. That money comes back to you. It’s the same thing for the Great Lakes. The funding that congress has provided is in recognition that it’s not an expense if we take care of the Great Lakes the Great Lakes will actually be this incredible return on that investment.”
Davis said in addition to cleaning up so-called ‘Areas of Concern’ around the lakes, they’ve also successfully kept out several invasive species and reduced the risk of harmful algal blooms.