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Great Lakes Fix-Up in Congress - WI Mayors Say "About Time"

March 7, 2007

A Major Great Lakes clean-up law is being introduced in Congress today and some of Wisconsin's coastal mayors say it's about time. The proposed law would fund clean-up of toxic sediments, help cities with sewage treatment, and boost efforts against invasive species.

Dave Ross, Mayor of Superior, says Great Lakes mayors have been calling for action for years, and he's glad to see Congress paying attention.

"It's vital to our economic activity, it's vital to our life and recreation, and is why we live in this part of the country. We certainly enjoy these lakes and we want to be able to continue to enjoy these lakes."

Ross believes, if action is not taken, Wisconsin will suffer additional water quality problems, beach closings, and negative impacts to tourism and fisheries.

Racine mayor Gary Becker is testifying before Congress today on the issue. He says federal help on invasive species and wastewater management is vital for Wisconsin's coastal cities.

"We'd like to see more funding for clean-ups and sustainable development along the waterfronts. The reality is, it's going to take some funding."

Becker adds Congress needs to act quickly, because problems such as invasive species may reach a point of no return.

"The stress on all of the lakes is very high. We don't know where the breaking point will be, while we tend look out at those vast waters and assume there is no breaking point."

The bill is expected to come up this afternoon.

Rob Ferrett/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WI