Fight to Protect the Great Lakes Starts Again

Here we go again.

With the Trump administration looking to nearly zero out funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the Buffalo Niagara Partnership joined our friends in the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition (GLMCC) for our annual visit to Washington, DC to fight for the GLRI and other issues critical to our region.

This is not the first time the GLRI has been under attack. Presidents of both political parities have tried to cut the program over the years, but Congress has come together in a rare display of bipartisanship to fund the GLRI at or around $300 million annually. The GLRI is more than just an environmental restoration program essential to protecting the Great Lakes, which are home to 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. The GLRI is also a direct economic benefit to the communities in and around the Great Lakes as outlined in a 2018 study by the University of Michigan.

Talking with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California about the importance of immigration to Great Lakes communities.


Championing the GLRI is just one of the priorities of the GLMCC. As a founding member of the group, the Partnership amplifies our federal advocacy efforts by joining forces with the cities of Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and others to advocate for polices critical to the future success and growth of Great Lakes communities, including:

  • Infrastructure investment;
  • Talent attraction;
  • Water quality;
  • Energy development; and
  • Balanced trade policy.

During our visit to Washington, the GLMCC met with members of Congress who represent Great Lakes states and those with policy expertise aligned with our agenda.

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio discussing why this thinks the USMCA is a good deal for America.


We also made a stop at the White House for a policy briefing with staff from various administration departments and agencies. The conversation focused on trade with the administration laying out its priorities and firm commitment to see the USMCA, or “new NAFTA,” ratified by Congress later this year.

Back from Washington, DC, the GLMCC will stay central to the conversation over the next several months as the President and lawmakers negotiate a federal spending plan, competing immigration proposals are debated in Congress, and the fate of an infrastructure bill is decided. For updates, stay tuned to our blog and follow GLMCC on Twitter.

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