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Great Lakes Get Clean-Up, Restoration, and Economic Recovery Help

November 10, 2009

MADISON, Wis. - Now that money is on the way for Great Lakes cleanup and restoration, the next step is to decide what to do with the funds. The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which includes 100 different public and private organizations, has been working on such a list since President Obama pledged the funding during his campaign. Now he has signed legislation authorizing $475 million for the effort.

Coalition co-chair Andy Buchsbaum says the step is unprecedented.

"That's money to clean up toxic pollution, to stop invasive species, to keep our beaches clean, to stop polluted run-off, to restore habitat. This is just the medicine the Great Lakes need to get healthy again."

Buchsbaum says the 475 million may be just the start, President Obama has promised a total of $5 billion for clean-up efforts.

Buchsbaum says the funding is critical for the environmental health of the Great Lakes and the eight states bordering them, but he says it will also help the region with economic recovery.

"A study by the Brookings Institution showed that every dollar invested in the Great Lakes ecology results in an additional two to four dollars of economic benefit for our regional economy."

Buchsbaum says the Environmental Protection Agency will solicit proposals for restoration projects from the eight Great Lakes states, private industry and public organizations.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI