Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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Latino groups say Nevada's new political maps have diluted their influence, especially in Las Vegas' Congressional District 1; and strikes that erupted in what became known as "Striketober" aren't over yet.

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Presidents Biden and Putin discuss the Ukrainian border in a virtual meeting; Senate reaches an agreement to raise the debt ceiling; and officials testify about closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

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Rural areas are promised more equity from the U.S. Agriculture Secretary while the AgrAbility program offers new help for farmers with disabilities; and Pennsylvanians for abandoned mine reclamation says infrastructure monies are long overdue.

Biden Plans Include Water Infrastructure in Great Lakes States

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Monday, June 7, 2021   

MILWAUKEE - The Great Lakes and their surrounding regions have seen federal investments for restoration efforts, but those fighting on their behalf say more is needed. A coalition says President Joe Biden's proposed budget and infrastructure plans are a good start.

The White House spending plan would put billions of dollars into water-related projects in the Great Lakes region, while the American Jobs Plan proposes millions more.

Laura Rubin, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said with sewage contamination closing beaches and toxic pollution threatening the health of communities, it's time for Congress to come together with the president on this approach.

"To invest in solutions that will restore our Great Lakes," said Rubin, "protect our drinking water, safeguard our public health and support local economies. "

The coalition estimates over the next 20 years, Wisconsin will need nearly $24 billion to modernize wastewater and drinking-water systems.

The Biden plan would increase the budget for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by $10 million, and give the Environmental Protection Agency an extra $2 billion to allow for greater oversight of polluters.

Republican opponents in Congress have balked at the price tags for the administration's proposals, prompting a series of negotiations.

The American Jobs Plan, otherwise known as the infrastructure bill, would dedicate an additional $111 billion to protecting water quality over the next eight years. Coalition policy director Chad Lord says it would be a big boost for environmental justice.

"These investments will help eliminate toxic lead service lines into people's homes," said Lord, "accelerate progress in fixing the nation's drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and provide much-needed investments to help communities that have been most harmed by pollution."

Cities such as Madison have replaced all of their lead pipe lines, but Milwaukee is still on a 70 year pace to remove its lines.

The coalition warns that Lake Superior and Lake Michigan still are threatened by polluted runoff from farm fields, in addition to infrastructure needs.




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