GLWP Hill Happenings July 2013


  • Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013 introduced
    • Co-sponsors: Great Lakes Task Force (GLTF) Member David Joyce (OH-14); GLTF Co-Chairs Reps. John Dingell (MI-12), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), and Candice Miller (MI-10); GLTF Members Reps. Dan Benishek (MI-01), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Brian Higgins (NY-26), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Sandy Levin (MI-09), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Gary Peters (MI-14), and Mike Quigley (IL-05); and Great Lakes Delegation members Reps. John Conyers (MI-13), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Richard Nolan (MN-08), Tom Petri (WI-06), and Mark Pocan (WI-02).
    • Bill authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $475 million; Great Lakes National Protection Office (EPA) at $25 million; and the Great Lakes Legacy Act at $100 million, all through 2018.
    • Bill also codifies and requires the involvement of the Interagency Task Force, to coordinate the federal agencies with Great Lakes restoration and development, as well as the Great Lakes Advisory Board, to provide input and advice to the Administration on Great Lakes restoration and protection
    • The Senate introduced its bill ( 1232) in June 2013, with original co-sponsors: Great Lakes Task Force Co-Chairs Sens. Carl Levin (MI) and Mark Kirk (IL); Great Lakes Task Force members Sens. Debbie Stabenow (MI), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Sherrod Brown (OH), Richard Durbin (IL), Al Franken (MN), Charles Schumer (NY); and Great Lakes delegation member Sen. Tammy Baldwin (WI)
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act (R. 163subcommittee hearing held
    • Sponsored by Michigan Reps. Benishek, Bentivolio, Camp, Dingell, Huizenga, Kildee, Levin, Miller, Peters, Rogers, Upton, and Walberg
    • Dan Benishek and Bill Huizenga testified on the bill, as well as Jeannette Feeheley, President of the Board of Directors for the Citizens for Access to the Lakeshore
    • The Senate Bill ( 23), co-sponsored by GLTF Co-Chair Sen. Carl Levin (MI) and GLTF Member Debbie Stabenow(MI), passed by unanimous consent in June
  • Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act, 1254, reported out of Committee
    • Original Co-sponsors include Great Lakes Member Sen. Rob Portman (OH)
    • Reported, favorably, out of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
  • Strategic Response to Asian Carp Invasion Act, R. 358, receives subcommittee hearing
    • Original Co-sponsors include NEMW Congressional Coalition Co-chair Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-03) and Rep. Betty McCollum (MN-04)
    • McCollum testified at the hearing and all witnesses with a position supported the bill and its efforts to coordinate Asian carp efforts in the Upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers
  • Farm Bill Updates
    • Senate: passed the full bill on June 10, 2013
      • Final bill included a tie between conservation practices and insurance subsidies, as well as limits on insurance subsidies for farms having over $750,000 in income
    • House:
      • Original bill included 103 amendments but the final vote failed 234-195
      • Leadership split the bill and reconsidered just the “Farm” portion, leaving out any sections or amendments relation to the “Nutrition” portion
      • “Farm” portion of the bill passed the House 216-208, on July 11, 2013
      • Bill included authorization for a National Drought Council and Action Plan, to better prepare and respond to droughts like that experienced in 2012
      • An amendment to tie conservation practices to insurance subsidies, as included in the Senate Farm Bill, was withdrawn
    • Next Steps:
      • Senate amended the House bill with the Senate language and passed by unanimous consent, in order to go to conference on the bill
      • House leadership has indicated they will work on the Nutrition portion of the Farm Bill before appointing conferees; a bill is expected in September that would reduce the Food Stamp program by $40 B while the original House Farm Bill cut the program by $20.5 B (Senate cuts by $4 B)

Energy and Water

  • House R. 2609; passed 227-198
    • Overall Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund-sourced funds total $1 billion
    • Significant Great Lakes Provisions:
      Prohibit expansion of uses of HMTF; Kelly (PA)/Duffy(WI) Am.
      Great Lakes-Mississippi River Interbasin Study funding at $3 million
      Prohibits use of funds to relocate or consolidate Buffalo and Chicago Corps Districts; Higgins (NY)/Collins (NY)/Lipinski (IL)/Schakowsky (IL) Am.
    • List of regional provisions and adopted amendments
  • Senate 1245; reported favorably out of the full Appropriations Committee
    • Overall Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund-sourced funds total $1 billion
    • Significant Great Lakes Provisions:
      Great Lakes-Mississippi River Interbasin Study funding at $3 million Prohibits use of funds to relocate or consolidate Chicago Corps District; Durbin (IL)/Kirk (IL) Am.

Interior and Environment

  • House: Began full committee markup of bill on July 31; recessed until after August recess
    • Bill included $60 M for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; bumped up to $210 M (Dent/Joyce Amendment)
  • Senate: draft bill and report released; no planned action until after August recess
  • Comparison of bills and significant regional programs

State and Foreign Operations

  • FY2014 POTUS Request
    • Great Lakes Fishery Commission: $19.2 M (FY2012: $23.7 M)
    • International Joint Commission: $2 M + Washington, D.C. activities (FY2012: $3 M)
  • House, R. 2855
    • Great Lakes Fishery Commission: at least $19.2 M
    • International Joint Commission: $9 M (not just Great Lakes)
  • Senate, 1372
    • Great Lakes Fishery Commission: $23.6 M (Great Lakes; $27.1 M Total)
    • International Joint Commission: $7.664 M (not just Great Lakes)


Great Lakes Senators write President on need to address climate change
On July 23, 2013, six Senate Great Lakes Task Force members, including co-chair Sen. Carl Levin (MI), wrote President Obama. The Senators expressed their concern about the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes, including water levels, and the need to include the Great Lakes in the national climate action plan, released by the Administration. The Senators’ noted the importance of the Great Lakes as a supply of freshwater for residents and commercial enterprises, as well as the direct and indirect economic benefits of the Great Lakes. Additional signatories included Sens. Richard Durbin (IL), Al Franken (MN), Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition Co-chair Sherrod Brown (OH), Charles Schumer (NY), and Debbie Stabenow (MI).


Lake Erie Algal Bloom prediction – Significant but not as bad as 2011 predicted
On July 2, the partnership of universities and government agencies working to predict the extent of the late-summer algal bloom in Lake Erie released their forecast during a public briefing and webinar. The forecast, based on the amount of phosphorus that entered the lake from March 1-June 30, suggested the bloom would be larger than in 2012 but smaller than the monster bloom experienced in 2011, which spilled into the central basin and was easily visible via satellite photographs. Overall, the bloom is expected to be just under 20% of the 2011 bloom and comparable to the bloom experienced in 2003. The wet April contributed to higher runoff of nutrients than the runoff in 2012, when the region was under drought conditions. The briefing included speakers from the Ohio Travel Association and the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, who emphasized the larger economic and ecological impacts of algal blooms. Further, Ohio’s Phosphorus Task Force Phase II discussed their phosphorus reduction targets, based on scientific evidence of impacts. These targets would reduce the loading of phosphorus, in its various forms, by around 40% compared to the 2007-12 average.  Federal and local governments, industry, academics, and other stakeholders comprise the task force. Speakers also emphasized the continued need for monitoring and adapting to changing conditions and new information.

In June, the NEMWI coordinated a briefing on history, current research, and mitigation efforts for Harmful Algal Blooms in the Great Lakes.  Dr. Jeff Reutter, Director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab with Ohio State University, and Mr. Mike Shelton, Sustainability Manager for Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, presented.


Great Lakes Week, September 9-12, 2013, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

THE GREAT LAKES “FUNNY”… although sometimes just “cool”

Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership tells you why you should have a natural versus hard shoreline – from the lips of Larry the American Bullfrog and Sebastian the Goose

It is tornado season, and #CarpNado has arrived