House Approves Estuary and Great Lakes Bills
This week the House voted to reauthorize the National Estuary Program through amendment to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (also known as the Clean Water Act), S.1523. The bill would authorize funding at $26.5 million per year for the next 5 years and prioritize ecologic and economic health of coastal zones. Specific coastal issues include seagrass habitat loss, harmful algal blooms, unusual marine mammal mortality, invasive species, jellyfish population rise, coastal flooding, and low dissolved oxygen levels. The Senate passed its version of the bill in August 2015.
Additionally, the House passed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016 H.R. 223 designed to remediate toxic substances and areas of concern, address invasive species, protect and restore near-shore health, and protect wildlife and their habitats. Further, the bill proposes a minimum expenditure for Great Lakes environmental spending.