Environment & Great Lakes
Growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan has instilled in me a deep appreciation for Michigan’s wildlife and natural resources. As an active member of the Great Lakes Caucus, I have an extensive record of working to protect the Great Lakes watershed and preserve the beauty of our lakes for future generations.
Improving U.S. Pipeline Safety
Maintaining the integrity of our nation’s 2.5 million miles of pipeline infrastructure is absolutely essential to ensure the safe and affordable delivery of energy to folks here in Michigan and across the country. That is why I worked across the aisle with Congressman John Dingell (MI-15), the former Democratic Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to craft and shepherd through the bipartisan Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act (H.R. 2937), which ensures vital updates and improvements are made in U.S. pipeline safety. I am very pleased to note that a final agreement on pipeline safety legislation was signed into law by the President at the beginning of 2012.
Stopping Asian Carp and Other Invasive Species
I continue to work with other Members from the Great Lakes region to ensure we have the proper resources to fend off invasive species, including the Asian carp, round goby, sea lamprey, zebra mussel, and alewife. These large non-native fish and other invasive species threaten to destroy the $70 billion economy supported by the Great Lakes.
I support the eventual separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River water sheds to ensure that future threats from invasive species are mitigated. I do not consider our current infrastructure of electric barriers in the Chicago Area Waterway System a viable solution in the long run. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as directed by Congress, is currently conducting the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study (GLMRIS). GLMRIS will explore options and technologies that could be applied to prevent transfer of invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins through aquatic pathways. I and have been in constant contact with the Army Corps to ensure they complete the study in a timely manner.
Maintaining the Integrity of the Great Lakes
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. As stewards of the Great Lakes, it is our duty to ensure these precious bodies are protected for future generations. The comprehensive, inter-agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) addresses a wide range of problems including invasive species, non-point source pollution, and contaminated sediment. I have always supported robust funding for the GLRI to ensure our Great Lakes remain healthy for future generations.
I am also a proud supporter of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, which was ratified by each of the eight Great Lakes State legislatures, approved by Congress, and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The Compact includes provisions that prohibit diversion of lake water outside the region and addresses pressing environmental issues.
Fighting to Keep Pollutants out of Lake Michigan
In 2007, I learned that the State of Indiana had given a green light to BP to increase its daily dumping of ammonia and suspended solids into Lake Michigan from its Whiting, Indiana refinery. With the help of the Great Lakes Caucus, we won a tremendous victory that August when BP acquiesced and announced that it would reverse its course of action and not increase dumping of hazardous chemicals into Lake Michigan.
In light of a June 2009 Chicago Tribune story reporting that BP’s Whiting facility has been violating clean air permits for the last six years, I again joined my Great Lakes colleagues in calling for the EPA to immediately review all of BP’s reported ground, water, and air discharges. I will not stand for any actions that put our beloved Great Lakes in jeopardy.