Senators pushing to increase Great Lakes cleanup funding

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan’s U.S. senators are seeking more federal funding to continue a wide-ranging Great Lakes cleanup program.

Democrats Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters announced bipartisan legislation to renew and expand the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at a series of news conferences Thursday and Friday.

The bill would continue the program through 2026 and gradually increase its annual appropriation from the current $300 million to $475 million.

The program focuses on some of the Great Lakes’ most longstanding environmental problems, including industrial toxic pollution, invasive species, runoff that causes algae blooms and wildlife habitat loss.

In Michigan, it has provided a combined $762 million for 880 projects, including restoring native fish populations in the Detroit River and removing 200 tons (181 metric tons) of marine debris from Belle Isle in Detroit.