House Approves Great Lakes Restoration Bill

Published: Mar 9, 2007
Washington, DC - 
Decades of dumping raw sewage into the Great Lakes have put them at great risk. We applaud the House of Representatives for approving HR 720 today, which will fund the most critical part of the effort to clean up the Great Lakes. Clean water is essential to public health and the environment, and today's House action puts us one step closer to cleaning up the mess.

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Today the House of Representatives passed HR 720, the Water Quality Financing Act of 2007, which authorizes $14 billion over four years for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The CWSRF provides low-interest loans to construct wastewater treatment facilities and other pollution-abatement projects. The vote count was 303 to 108.

Fully funding the CSWRF is considered a critical part of the 2005 Great Lakes Regional Collaboration agreement designed to end the flow of wastewater from flowing into the lakes by 2020.

Another water-sources bill (HR 700), which passed, 368-59, on Thursday, authorizes $125 million for local governments, water agencies and non-governmental organizations.

The Senate is expected to take up HR 720 later this year.

The Great Lakes watershed is one of the world's most significant ecological systems, on which the region's fisheries, birds, other wildlife, and people depend. Close to 95 percent of America's fresh surface water is contained in the Great Lakes, providing drinking water for 40 million people. Additionally, the Great Lakes provide habitat and migration routes for 400 bird species, including the Great Blue Heron. Audubon is focusing on bird and wildlife habitat restoration and protection of open spaces adjacent to Great Lakes wetlands, particularly in Important Bird Area watersheds.

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The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

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Nancy Severance
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nseverance@audubon.org
212 979-3124