Past Event

GLLC Web Meeting Recap: U.S. Federal Great Lakes Policy


March 22, 2024 10:00 a.m. –
11:00 a.m. CT

On March 22, the GLLC held its second web meeting of 2024. Chad Lord, policy director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and senior director with the National Parks Conservation Association, provided an overview of Great Lakes legislation before the U.S. Congress.

Congress is in the process of finalizing the appropriations process for FY 2024. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) received $368 million in funding, in addition to the $200 million in supplemental funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. GLRI funding is managed by the EPA and provides funding to address toxic sediments, habitat restoration, controlling invasive species, and more. In addition, drinking water and clean waters funds for state revolving loan funds were also awarded at a stable level. Appropriations negotiations for FY 2025 opened with President Biden’s budget recommendations on March 11, and while hearings will take place between now and the end of fiscal year, there likely will not be final decisions made until after the November election.

With current dynamics in Congress and the upcoming election, Lord does not expect many bills to pass before the lame duck session. However, he does see potential for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2024 to pass this summer, which is enacted every two years and provides essential funding to infrastructure projects across the Great Lakes region led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lord also mentioned the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2024, which is the five-year reauthorization of the previously mentioned GLRI. While the current authorization extends through next year, Great Lakes leaders are trying to move the reauthorization this year to avoid any gaps. It already had bipartisan support. On the Farm Bill, Lord is less optimistic about Congress building the consensus needed to pass such a large, important package.

GLLC members asked questions about Congressionally directed spending affecting state revolving loans funds, algal bloom reduction programs, and plans in place if certain bills do not get extended before the deadline.

Following the featured presentation, GLLC Chair André Jacque gave an update on GLLC Executive Committee actions, including the passage of Resolution 24-1, upcoming elections process, and engagement with other Great Lakes organizations.