Klobuchar, Smith Announce Major Federal Funding for Great Lakes Restoration

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will use federal funding secured through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act to restore environmentally degraded Areas of Concern (AOC) within the Great Lakes. This funding will specifically help clean-up and work to delist the St. Louis River Area of Concern in Duluth-Superior, the second largest AOC in the United States.

“The Great Lakes are a major part of Minnesotans’ way of life, providing clean drinking water, a home for fish and wildlife, and opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said Senator Klobuchar. “This critical investment will help accelerate progress toward fully delisting the St. Louis River Area of Concern in Duluth-Superior, while also combatting threats such as environmental degradation and invasive species. As one of the vice-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I’ll keep fighting to ensure Minnesotans can continue to safely enjoy the Great Lakes for years to come.”

“For thousands of years, people have treasured Lake Superior and the rest of the Great Lakes,” said Senator Smith. “They are important to many—including the Native American communities that have long lived near them, tourists who visit them for outdoor recreation, and industries that rely on them for shipping. As a direct result of our work on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we now have an opportunity to make enormous progress in our efforts to clean up and restore the Great Lakes’ most environmentally degraded sites.”

As a vice-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Klobuchar is a leading advocate for the protection of the Great Lakes. In November, she led bipartisan legislation that would provide critical resources to conserve and restore fish and wildlife populations in the Great Lakes. 

Klobuchar has worked to bolster pollution clean-up efforts in the Great Lakes, prevent diversions of Great Lakes water out of the region, and establish new water conservation and environmental protection standards in the Great Lakes area. She has also fought to keep aquatic invasive species out of Minnesota’s rivers and lakes, including authoring legislation to help fight the spread of invasive carp that was signed into law in 2014.

Smith has worked to pass legislation for Great Lakes cleanup and restoration since coming to the Senate. In 2018, Smith, along with Klobuchar, helped secure provisions to protect Great Lakes ecosystems in the Coast Guard Reauthorization bill. Both senators have also been constant supporters of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) which has played a key role in cleaning up portions of the Great Lakes, reducing phosphorous runoff, and stopping the advancement of invasive species.

Klobuchar and Smith supported the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in November. The legislation delivers significant investments for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Minnesota’s water infrastructure, as well as the state’s roads, bridges, and public transportation.