GLWP Hill Happenings October 2013


  • Government Shutdown
    • On October 16, 2013, hours before the U.S. would have breached its debit authority despite “extraordinary measures” from the U.S. Treasury, the Senate and House passed a budget to reopen the government and extend the government’s borrowing authority
    • The deal funds the government through January 15, 2014, at the current sequestered levels (FY2013), and extends borrowing authority until February 7, 2014.
    • Additionally, an agreement was reached to go to conference on the Budget Resolution, with an expected report date of December 13, 2013
  • Water Resources Reform and Development Act, R. 3080, passed the full House 417-3
    • Included designation of the Great Lakes as a single navigation system for purposes of funding, as included in the Great Lakes Navigation System Sustainability Act, R. 2273, Section 3(a)
    • NEMWI released a summary comparison of the Senate and House bills
    • A timetable for conference and resolving the differences between the two bills has yet to be announced
  • Farm Bill Updates
    • The current extension of the Farm Bill expired at midnight on October 1, 2013
    • House and Senate leaders named conferees and the initial meetings between staff and official meetings began
    • 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.

FY2014 GLRI Appropriations
On October 22, 2013, 24 House members of the Great Lakes delegation, including Great Lakes Task Force co-chairs Reps. John Dingell (MI-12) and Louise Slaughter (NY-25) along with Great Lakes Task Force Member Rep. Sandy Levin (MI-09), wrote to the Appropriations leaders, supporting FY2014 funding at $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The initial House draft of the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, under which the GLRI and its lead agency the Environmental Protection Agency is funded, proposed cutting the GLRI to $60 million. This cut elicited a quick response from Great Lakes Task Force and delegation members. Great Lakes Task Force member Rep. David Joyce (OH-14) worked with House Appropriators to find an offset to restore the total to $210 million, and received commitments from leaders to further increase the GLRI funding level; however, the appropriations process has since stalemated. Due to sequestration, the GLRI saw a budget cut, reducing FY2013 funding to around $284 million.


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 Advisory Board – Public teleconference | Wednesday, November 13
10 a – 1 p EST | Phone 877.744.6030; Code 91845630 |


Underwater Wi-Fi in the Great Lakes