Illinois’ two U.S. senators have introduced the Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act, a bill to address the most significant challenges in the Great Lakes ecosystem. The legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) targets invasive species, nonpoint source and nutrient pollution, and will help remediate and restore toxic hot spots throughout the Great Lakes basin.

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“We are faced with many challenges when trying to protect the health and safety of the Great Lakes –from invasive species to air pollution around Lake Michigan,” Durbin said. “While I have been working for decades with my colleagues in the House and Senate to tackle these challenges, the Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act provides us with a comprehensive approach, one that I hope will help ensure that the Great Lakes will be around for generations, providing drinking water, recreation and commerce for Illinois and the other surrounding states.”

The legislation includes the following provisions:

  • Ensures implementation of the Great Lakes water quality agreement with Canada
  • Authorizes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to target the most significant problems facing the basin
  • Reauthorizes the Great Lakes National Program Office within the Environmental Protection Agency to facilitate policy and administrative tasks relating to the Great Lakes
  • Reauthorizes the Great Lakes Legacy Act to remove contaminated sediment from areas of concern across the Great Lakes
  • Establishes a Great Lakes Advisory Board to advise on matters pertaining to Great Lakes restoration and protection
  • Authorizes a federal interagency task force to coordinate restoration initiatives among the federal agencies

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