GLWP Hill Happenings December 2014


    • Congress passed the “cromnibus”, which provides funding for all agencies except those within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including the U.S. Coast Guard, for the rest of FY2015. Notable numbers for the Great Lakes region include:
      • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (funding): $300 M
      • Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $1,448.9 M
      • Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund: $1,100 M
    • The House passed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act, (R. 5764), which authorizes the GLRI program at $300 million through FY2019, the end of the current Action Plan. The bill was cosponsored by Rep. David Joyce (OH-14), Sandy Levin (MI-09) and all four Great Lakes Task Force Co-Chairs (Candice Miller, MI-10; John Dingell, MI-12; Sean Duffy, WI-07; and Louise Slaughter, NY-25).
    • Notable legislation that passed during the lame duck included:
      • Defense Authorization Act: Prohibits another round of Base Realignment and Closure and includes multiple “land bills,” whereby Congress approves land swaps, conservation, or wilderness designations.
      • U.S. Coast Guard Reauthorization: Continues funding the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) at FY2014 levels ($8.7 billion) and: authorizes transfer of helicopters to the USCG to establish year-round capability within the Great Lakes; extends assistance to small shipyards through FY2017; clarifies the role of federally-recognized Tribes in oil and hazardous spill response; requires establishment of a National Maritime Strategy and a National Academy of Sciences’ study to improve the competitiveness of the U.S. fleet; and delays implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s small vessel discharge regulations until 2018.
      • Propane Education and Research Enhancement Act: Sponsored by Rep. Bob Latta (OH-05), adds training for propane distributors and consumers on strategies to avoid shortages and price spikes, as occurred during the harsh winter of 2013/4.
  • Dave Camp (MI-04) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI), along with several colleagues, introduced the Guarding Our Great Lakes Act (H.R. 5861; S. 3002), authorizing construction of one-way protections against invasive species at the Brandon Rd Lock & Dam. Discussions on the language will continue into the 114th Congress, where Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10) will take the lead in the House following Rep. Camp’s retirement.


NEMWI Announces New President    

NEMWI announced that Michael Goff, PhD, will fill the position of NEMWI President, effective February 11, 2015. Former U.S. Representative (R-OH), and current NEMWI Board Chair Steve LaTourette stated: “Michael brings a wealth of experience to the Northeast-Midwest Institute. We are excited about the future with Michael at the helm.” Dr. Goff has more than 25 years of senior executive experience in development, communications and government relations. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Independent Sector, a national organization serving the nonprofit and philanthropic community. He holds a PhD in Government from Georgetown University, and hails from Pennsylvania. Last year, outgoing NEMWI President Allegra Cangelosi, requested that the Board transition to a “full-time and higher profile President, to take the organization to the next level.” Cangelosi, who will be returning to purely programmatic work at NEMWI, stated “I could not be happier with the Board’s choice for our organization’s leadership moving forward!” Members of the NEMWI community can meet Michael at the upcoming NEMWI Reception for the Region, scheduled for February 3, 2015 on Capitol Hill.

NEMWI Briefing Recap: Water Wars in the Great Lakes

On Friday, December 5, 2014, NEMWI’s Great Lakes Washington Program hosted a Capitol Hill briefing on the status of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Compact). The 110th Congress ratified the Compact to protect Great Lakes water from being overdrawn to the point of negatively affecting the livelihoods and environment of the region. The Compact provides a system for review of proposed water withdrawals, with an approval process involving all eight Great Lakes states. A request for water withdrawal by the City of Waukesha, Wisconsin attracted renewed attention to the Compact process, and primarily, who does or does not have access to Great Lakes water.

Peter Annin, Managing Director of the Environmental Change Initiative at the University of Notre Dame and author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, placed the Great Lakes water diversion debate into historical, global and continental context. David Naftzger, Executive Director of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, described the comprehensive development, implementation, and ongoing review of the Compact within the states, and the role of the U.S. Congress during ratification and now. In regards to the specific Waukesha application, he explained that the state of Wisconsin will first review the City of Waukesha’s request for water withdrawal. If the request is deemed “approvable” by the state, the other Great Lakes Governors, as well as the two Canadian Premiers of Ontario and Quebec in an advisory role, will review the case and determine if the requested withdrawal is consistent with the Compact.

Senate Great Lakes Task Force Co-Chairs Sens. Carl Levin (MI) and Mark Kirk (IL), Senate Vice-Chairs Sens. Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Rob Portman (OH), and House Great Lakes Task Force Co-Chairs Reps. Candice Miller (MI-10), John Dingell (MI-12), Sean Duffy (WI-07), and Louise Slaughter (NY-25) served as honorary co-sponsors of the briefing.

Congress Sends Letter Requesting $4.7B for LIHEAP in FY2016

NEMW Coalition and Great Lakes Task Force members sent a bipartisan Congressional letterasking the President to include no less than $4.7 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in his proposed FY2016 budget. The letter included 124 signatures with NEMW Coalition Co-Chair Rep. James McGovern (MA-02) and Great Lakes Task Force Co-Chair Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY-25) leading the letter.

LIHEAP is the main federal program that provides financial assistance to low-income households for home heating and cooling expenses. It is an important program for the densely-populated and wintry NEMW region, which received approximately 60% of program funds in recent years. LIHEAP funding has declined by $1.7 billion since FY2010, even though energy costs have remained high.


Great Lakes Environmental Summit | Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2014 | 9 am | Capitol Hill
Great Lakes Congressional Breakfast | Thursday, Feb. 26, 2014 | Senate Hart Office Building, SH-902 | Time TBD

Great Lakes ice volcanoes