GLWP Hill Happenings November 2013


  • Appropriations and Budget
    • The Budget Conference Committee, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-01) and Sen. Patty Murray (WA), continues to meet and discuss the proposed budgets, though disagreements within the discussions continue to leak out
    • Appropriators had asked for the top budget line in advance of the December 13, 2013 due date for the Budget Conference, in order to have time to craft an appropriations plan for the rest of FY2014. The current spending agreement expires on January 15, 2014.
  • Water Resources Conference Committee meets (November 20, 2013)
    • Conference Committee leadership voiced their desire to have a bill ready for consideration when the Senate returns from its Thanksgiving recess the week of December 9
    • The Conference Committee includes Great Lakes Task Force Co-Chair, Rep. Candice Miller (MI-10), as well as delegation member, Rep. Rick Nolan (MN-08)
    • After Rep. Miller’s opening statement, Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA), chair of the conference committee, responded: “Let me assure you, your Senators were unrelenting. If I could recount how many times I heard the word ‘Great Lakes’ during our deliberations, it would please you. So I think with all the fighting for the Great Lakes, I don’t think you have to worry too much about the final product.”
    • NEMWI released a summary comparison of the Senate and House bills
  • Farm Bill – Conference committee hits snags
    • Discussions on final Farm Bill broke down before the Thanksgiving recess. Compromise on differences in the nutrition, commodity, and dairy titles remained.
    • Failure to pass some sort of extension or bill may lead to increased prices of dairy products, in addition to lost opportunities for reforming farm subsidies and enhancing conservation efforts.
    • This NEMWI Blog post provides more details and links to the past actions and potential future path to a Farm Bill.


Nuclear Waste Storage Site
On October 21, 2013, Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, expressing serious concerns about the proposed nuclear waste storage facility to be located near Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario. The Senators urged Secretary Kerry to engage the International Joint Commission, a binational body formed to prevent and resolve disputes over shared boundary waters, and to encourage the Canadian government to reconsider placing a nuclear waste storage facility near the shores of Lake Huron, the source of drinking water for millions of U.S. and Canadian citizens.

The following day, October 22, 2013, Great Lakes Task Force Co-Chairs, Sens. Carl Levin and Mark Kirk (IL) wrote a letter to Environmental Protection Administrator, Gina McCarthy, encouraging the administrator and agency to become actively involved in the proposed permit for storing nuclear waste.

On October 30, 2013, four members of the Michigan delegation in the House, Reps. Dan Kildee, Sandy Levin, John Dingell, and Gary Peters, sent a letter expressing “significant concern” over the plans to locate the nuclear waste storage site less than a mile from Lake Huron. The letter implores the Joint Review Panel to consider alternative locations for the site.

The proposed storage facility has generated numerous comments from Great Lakes stakeholders, including the Alliance for the Great Lakes, in coordination with 14 other Great Lakes organizations, and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

Federal Spending on Invasive Species
On November 12, 2013, members of the House of Representatives, including Great Lakes Task Force members Reps. Dan Benishek (MI-01), David Joyce (OH-14), and Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), wrote to the Office of Management and Budget, requesting a description of the total amount of federal spending on invasive species efforts. OMB is integral in the preparation to the federal budget and setting funding priorities and has performed an analysis of federal spending across multiple agencies on other priorities, including the Great Lakes, in the past. The letter requests the spending information be included with submission of the President’s budget request in February.


Executive Order on Climate Preparedness
President Obama issued an Executive Order on Climate Resilience and Preparedness, highlighting the need to prepare for more extreme weather events across the U.S. As part of these efforts, the Executive Order created a multi-agency federal Task Force to identify opportunities to reform policies and funding to support smarter, climate-resilient investments. Additionally, the Executive Order created an Advisory Task Force, comprised of state, local, and tribal leaders. Governor Pat Quinn (Illinois), Co-Chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors; Mayor George Heartwell (Grand Rapids, Michigan), Member, Board of Directors, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative; and Karen Diver, Chairwomen, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Minnesota), will serve on the Advisory Task Force.


Great Lakes Panel | Dupont Policy Summit | Friday, December 6, 2013
12 – 1 pm |Historic Whittemore House | 1526 New Hampshire Ave, NW, Washington, DC

Great Lakes Advisory Board Teleconference | Wednesday, December 11, 2013
2 – 4 pm EST | Phone: (877) 744-6030; Participant code: 11645588

Great Lakes Environmental Summit | Wednesday, February 5, 2014
10 am – 4 pm | Washington, DC | Details to follow

Great Lakes Day Congressional Breakfast | Thursday, March 7, 2014 | Washington, DC
Details to follow


Carp runs for Ann Arbor City Council