Senators urge more time for lakes cleanup


U.S. senators from the Great Lakes region are seeking congressional support for extending President Obama’s main cleanup initiative for the region through 2018.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has infused the region with $300 million to $500 million more a year for waterway cleanup projects since it began in 2009. Some of the money has gone toward combating nonconventional pollution, such as invasive species, which are considered biological pollution.

According to the Associated Press, Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) and Mark Kirk (R., Illinois) have urged leaders of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee to approve the measure. Those two senators co-chair the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. Eight of their colleagues signed on the letter, the AP said.

Some of the restoration money has been used in the Toledo area.

The initiative grew out of Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge to jump-start Great Lakes restoration efforts with $5 billion in new funding before he left the White House.

An inventory generated by the Bush administration in 2005 showed the Great Lakes region needed more than $23 billion of work, but the administration, citing competing needs from Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War, never funded that Great Lakes work.