Press Releases

Upton, Kildee Lead Bipartisan Letter to EPA Opposing Closure of Great Lakes Regional Office

“Our area of the country has unique natural resources, and having a regional office dedicated to protecting them from harm is essential,” lawmakers say

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Washington, April 28, 2017 | Lynn Turner/Tom Wilbur (202-225-3761/269-385-0039) | comments

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (MI-05) led a bipartisan letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt urging the federal agency to not close a regional office serving the Great Lakes region. The letter, signed by Democrats and Republicans in Michigan’s congressional delegation, highlights how the EPA’s Region 5 office currently helps protect the Great Lakes from real threats, including combatting invasive species like Asian carp, as well as helping the people of Flint recover from the ongoing water crisis.

The bipartisan congressional letter, in addition to Kildee and Upton, was signed by U.S. Rep. John Conyers (MI-13), U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (MI-09), U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop (MI-08), U.S. Rep. Dave Trott (MI-11), U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12).

“Each year, the Great Lakes generate billions in annual economic activity and support 1.5 million good-paying jobs in the tourism, boating and fishing industries. The Great Lakes also provide drinking water to 48 million people. It is in our national interest to protect the Great Lakes from harm,” the lawmakers’ letter reads.

“Our area of the country has unique natural resources, and having a regional office dedicated to protecting them from harm is essential. We strongly support the EPA continuing to operate a regional office located in the Great Lakes region,” the letter continued.

The full text of the letter can be found below:

Mr. Scott Pruitt
Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20460


Administrator Pruitt:

We write to you in opposition to the closure of the Region 5 office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency based in the Great Lakes region. If recent press reports are true, the closure of the regional office – which serves Michigan and other states in the Great Lakes region – is very concerning.

The Great Lakes drive our region’s economy. Each year, the Great Lakes generate billions in annual economic activity and support 1.5 million good-paying jobs in the tourism, boating and fishing industries. The Great Lakes also provide drinking water to 48 million people. It is in our national interest to protect the Great Lakes from harm.

Unfortunately, the Great Lakes also face real threats. From combatting invasive species like Asian carp, to restoring wetland habitat, we must work every day to protect the Great Lakes. Having a regional EPA office situated on the Great Lakes and dedicated to our region ensures a concerted effort to protect our environment and promote public health. This regional office helps to administer the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which is showing real and measurable results. But more work remains to protect the Great Lakes, and closing the regional office jeopardizes the progress we have made.

EPA’s Region 5 office also helps to ensure that the residents of Flint, Mich., and other communities have clean drinking water. Currently, the regional office is providing ongoing water testing and technical assistance to Flint as it continues to recover from the city’s lead in water crisis. In other areas, they are finding ways to prevent toxins from entering our drinking water through events like harmful algal blooms. The Great Lakes region is best served by an office that has experience and expertise with these regional issues.

Our area of the country has unique natural resources, and having a regional office dedicated to protecting them from harm is essential. We strongly support the EPA continuing to operate a regional office located in the Great Lakes region.

 

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