Rep. Kelly Matches Words with Actions on Great Lakes Day

Mar 8, 2018 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Energy
Rep. Kelly addresses the Great Lakes Commission in the Dirksen Senate Office Building
Rep. Kelly Matches Words with Actions on Great Lakes Day

Kelly continues to stand up for Lake Erie in Congress

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and a former chairman of the Great Lakes Task Force – delivered remarks this morning at the annual Great Lakes Congressional Breakfast Reception to celebrate Great Lakes Day 2018 and promote congressional action taken to support Lake Erie.

Rep. Kelly: “The Great Lakes are an environmental treasure and an undeniable economic engine for our entire district, region, and country. I will never hesitate to take proactive action to protect them, especially Lake Erie, and strongly encourage all my colleagues to do the same.”

Since taking office in 2011, Rep. Kelly has worked with lawmakers in both parties and both houses of Congress to ensure the maintenance, protection, and economic success of Lake Erie’s beaches and port in Pennsylvania’s Third Congressional District.

FIGHTING FOR SAND REPLENISHMENT AT PRESQUE ISLE

This afternoon, Rep. Kelly sent an official letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) to formally request that beach nourishment at Presque Isle State Park remain a high priority project in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) budget for fiscal year 2019.

Excerpt from Rep. Kelly’s letter:

Presque Isle is an essential economic and natural resource for Northwestern Pennsylvania and this region of our country. According to a study by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, it supports more than 1,000 jobs and attracts roughly four million visitors who bring more than $60 million into the local economy each year. Needless to say, it is critical for the region that the beach remains a popular attraction and that the shoreline’s integrity is fully maintained.

SUPPORTING THE GREAT LAKES RESTORATION INITIATIVE

Rep. Kelly has co-signed a joint letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to formally request that the committee provide $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for fiscal year 2019. This bipartisan letter will be sent in the week to come.

Excerpt from letter:

The federal government commits significant resources each year to address the challenges the Great Lakes face. In particular, GLRI resources have supplemented agency budgets to fund coordinated efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes ecosystem, and we must ensure that this important work continues.  Halting this commitment would reverse years of progress, dramatically reduce the GLRI’s impact, and jeopardize the environmental and economic health of the region.

To that end, we urge you to continue this vital investment in the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes by including $300 million for the GLRI in the Fiscal Year 2019 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

WORKING TO COMBAT TOXIC ALGAL BLOOMS

Rep. Kelly has also co-signed a soon-to-be released joint letter to the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee requesting the preservation of FY2017 funding levels to combat harmful algal blooms at the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Excerpt from letter:

As the occurrence and severity of harmful algal blooms (HABs) increases throughout our country, more communities are facing threats to their drinking water, waterways, and economies.  Our understanding of HABs, their toxicity, location, and increasing frequency, is not keeping pace with the rate at which they occur.  As you develop the fiscal year 2018 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we write to urge strong appropriations for the research programs on HABs within the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

In order to effectively combat HABs and address the threats they pose to public health and our economy, we respectfully ask that you prioritize research on HABs and maintain fiscal year 2017 funding levels for the Toxic Substances Hydrology Account within the USGS.

BACKGROUND

Earlier this year, Rep. Kelly introduced the Investing in America: Unlocking the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act (H.R. 1908), a bipartisan bill to guarantee that the Port of Erie and other national ports, harbors, and channels are dredged, maintained, and kept fully operational

A video of Rep. Kelly’s initial floor speech in strong support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2014 (of which he is an original co-sponsor) can be viewed here.

What others have said about Rep. Kelly’s efforts:

“U.S. Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-5th Dist., and Mike Kelly, R-3rd Dist., joined with Erie Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey and other Great Lakes lawmakers in bipartisan fashion to ensure Great Lakes funding remained intact after Trump first sought to slash it in 2017. We expect they will restore the funding again. We credit them for their advocacy.

—   Editorial, Erie Times-News, 2/27/2018

A local supporter of protecting the GLRI is Rep. Mike Kelly (R-3rd Dist). As a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force, a bipartisan working group, he has signed two letters to President Trump supporting the continuance of the $300 million GLRI in the 2018 budget.

“He also signed on to two letters to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior. The first, dated March 30, requested continued full funding of GLRI; the second, more pointed letter says that the task force members are “united in carefully monitoring programs that are integral to the Great Lakes environment and waterborne commerce.” It goes on to detail how losses in each program of the EPA could affect the Great Lakes.

“A spokesperson in Kelly’s office also stated that Kelly does not support House Bill 861, which proposes terminating the EPA entirely, and that he is not in favor of using $50 million of the 2017 GLRI budget to fund a border wall.”

—   Mary Birdsong, “Sailing on Choppy Waters,” The Erie Reader, 4/12/17

“On behalf of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and our over 145 member organizations, thank you for signing onto the Great Lakes Restoration Fiscal Year 2018 letter. Your support is critical for our region to continue the momentum that is building in the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes.”

—   Todd Ambs, Coalition Director, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, 3/30/17

 

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