Congressman Bill Huizenga has joined colleagues from around the region to introduce a reauthorization of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Huizenga tells us the program, which is set to expire next year, has led to major cleanup progress and the prevention of other threats to the lakes since it was created in 2010.

“It has been a tremendous, tremendous help to the Great Lakes,” Huizenga said. “Everything from invasive species such as the round goby and the Asian carp, as well as shoreline resiliency, cleanup that has been getting done as a result of our legacy of industrial pollution that has happened around the Great Lakes.”

Under the bill introduced last week, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative’s funding will be increased from $475 million per year to $500 million per year.

Huizenga says this reauthorization sets the stage to then begin seeking the actual funding. Supporters of the GLRI wanted to get started early before the program expires.