Great Lakes restoration program extension approved by U.S. House

(Krystal Vivian/95.3 MNC)

The U.S. House has voted to extend for an additional five years a program designed to improve water quality in the Great Lakes and make progress on resolving their biggest environmental threats.

The measure approved Tuesday authorizes spending $300 million annually on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Separate votes would be needed each year to provide the funding.

Congress has spent more than $2.2 billion on the program over the past seven years, funding more than 2,900 projects in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Wisconsin.

Top priorities include cleaning up harbors and river mouths polluted with toxins, combating invasive species, restoring wildlife habitat and preventing runoff that causes algae blooms and beach closures.

A similar bill has cleared a Senate committee and awaits a floor vote.

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