Recently on Thursday, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Regan, introduced the U.S President Joe Biden and announced $1 billion federal investment to boost the restoration efforts to cleanup nine degraded Great Lake sites by 2030, this investment became the single largest investment ever in the Great Lakes.

 

The huge amount of funds comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This total fund will be used to restore nine “areas of concern” (AOCs) in the Great Lakes region.

Before, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invested $3.5 billion in cleaning up Superfund sites and reinstates Superfund taxes, making it one of the largest investments in American history to address legacy pollution in communities across the country, according to Environmental Protection Agency.

Biden announces $1 billion in infrastructure funding to clean up the Great Lakes
President Joe Biden speaks about rebuilding manufacturing on February 8, from the South Court Auditorium in Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington

 

“The Great Lakes are a vital economic engine and an irreplaceable environmental wonder, supplying drinking water for more than 40 million people, supporting more than 1.3 million jobs, and sustaining life for thousands of species. Through the investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will make unprecedented progress in our efforts to restore and protect the waters and the communities of the Great Lakes basin,” Micheal Regan said.

Under the federal Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the “areas of concern” in the Great Lakes region were first identified in 1987. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States and Canada have listed 43 sites and 26 of them in the U.S. were considered as “areas of concern.” These sites are contaminated by sediments making the waters unsuitable for fishing, swimming, and other uses.

 

Now there are some sites left to be cleaned such as Clinton River, Detroit River, Manistique River, Muskegon Lake, River Raisin, Rouge River, St. Clair River, St. Marys River, and the Upper Peninsula’s Torch Lake.

Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will strengthen and clean up the nearby areas and infrastructures to improve the nearby supporting communities in 22 identified areas of concern.

Biden announces $1 billion in infrastructure funding to clean up the Great Lakes

The contamination level in the AOCs is threatening the Great Lakes. These nine AOCs directly flow into the Great Lakes. This will harm the health of Lakes Michigan, Huron, Superior, Erie, and Lake St. Clair, in addition to their watersheds.

“The EPA’s announcement shows that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is already delivering for Michigan. Cleaning up our rivers and lakes will improve quality of life for Michiganders and accelerate economic opportunity for communities all across this state. Together, we will continue putting Michiganders first, fixing our infrastructure, and growing our economy,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

 

The mayors of Detroit, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Monroe, Southfield, Traverse City, Sault Ste. Marie, Mount Clemens, Port Huron, Rogers City, Rochester Hills, and Sterling Heights praised this investment with words of support for the initiative.

“This new infusion of federal funding is a game-changer for our state,” Stabenow said Thursday, “Over the next eight years we are expected to complete the cleanup of an additional nine high-priority areas in Michigan. At a time when our Great Lakes are facing increasing pressures from new contamination, invasive species, and the climate crisis, completing the restoration of these areas is critically important to the health of our waters.”

The EPA said it will also continue to solve the additional problems including algal blooms, nutrient reduction activities, and invasive species.

 

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