THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
|| January 10, 2000
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE ANNOUNCES ADMINISTRATION
WILL SEEK $50 MILLION TO HELP RESTORE THE GREAT LAKES
Washington, DC -- Vice President Al Gore announced today
that the Administration will propose a new $50 million initiative in
its fiscal year 2001 budget to help restore the beauty and livability
of our nation's Great Lakes.
Under the proposal, Great Lakes communities -- such as
Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Gary, Duluth, and Buffalo -- would be
eligible for matching grants to help them restore and protect their
waterways for drinking, fishing, swimming, boating and urban redevelopment.
"The Great Lakes are among our nation's most cherished
natural treasures. We have made tremendous progress in restoring the
quality of their waters, but much remains to be done," said Vice
President Gore. "Today, we are proposing a major new partnership
with Great Lakes communities to help restore their treasured lakes and
enhance their livability. Working together, we can continue to improve
water quality, redevelop some of our nation's oldest urban centers,
and protect the health of millions of Americans who use and enjoy the
Great Lakes every year."
The proposed initiative would provide $50 million in matching
grants to state and local governments to clean up contaminated sediments,
control stormwater, restore wetlands, acquire greenways and buffers,
and control polluted runoff. The funds would be awarded by the Environmental
Protection Agency through a competitive grant process. State or local
governments would be required to provide at least 40 percent of project
costs, resulting in a total investment of more than $80 million.
States or municipalities will use the funds to address
existing "areas of concern" that were defined in 1987 by the
International Joint Commission -- a joint partnership between the United
States and Canada. There are 42 designated "areas of concern"
around the Great Lakes Basin where the aquatic environment has been
most severely affected. Of the 42 "areas of concern," 26 are
located exclusively in the United States, five are in waters shared
by the U.S. and Canada, and the remaining 12 are located exclusively
in Canada. All of these areas have significant water pollution problems
that restrict fishing, swimming, boating, and use for drinking water.
Most are in older, urban communities confronting a range of pollution
problems that detract from their livability by making it difficult to
attract new industries and restricting access to water and open space.
For over a decade, the governments of Canada and the United
States have been working with local governments, private industry, and
community organizations to develop cleanup plans to restore and protect
water quality in these 42 areas. While virtually all of these areas
have developed detailed restoration plans and initiated significant
environmental protection efforts, funding shortfalls have acted as a
roadblock to achieving cleanup goals. The new grants proposed by the
Clinton-Gore Administration would help speed implementation of existing
cleanup plans here in the U.S. and within shared waters.
The Environmental Protection Agency's fiscal year 2000
budget includes $17 million for research, demonstration projects and
other efforts to support Great Lakes cleanup. The Administration will
propose continuing this funding in fiscal year 2001.
Surrounded by rich farmlands and growing urban centers,
the Great Lakes are home to over 25 million Americans. Many people use
the Great Lakes as a source of drinking water. In addition, millions
enjoy the recreational opportunities provided by the Great Lakes each
year, including boating, fishing, and sightseeing. The Great Lakes also
sustain a rich diversity of birds and other wildlife; an estimated three
million birds migrate through the Great Lakes each year, relying on
the lakes for their food and shelter.
Great Lakes "Areas of Concern"
||Grand Calumet River
St. Clair River
St. Marys River
||St. Louis River
St. Lawrence River
||Presque Isle Bay
||Lower Green Bay & Fox River Menominee
River Milwaukee Estuary Sheboygan River