Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016by Representative David P. Joyce
Posted on 2016-04-26
JOYCE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 223, the
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016.
First, I want to thank my good friend, Bob Gibbs of Ohio, for helping me to shepherd this legislation through the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
I also want to thank Chairman Shuster for lending a hand and providing guidance on this.
Now, I know I may sound like a broken record, but one of the greatest natural resources and economic powerhouses we have in the United States and the world, for that matter, is the Great Lakes.
I think the resource is incredibly important because, in the future, freshwater is going to be the new gold. And, if you believe that like I do, you understand why the Great Lakes are so important.
Let me give you a few quick facts about this treasure. The Great Lakes contains one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water.
The Great Lakes contain about 85 percent of the fresh surface water in North America.
In the U.S., the Great Lakes account for 95 percent of the fresh surface water. That is a lot of fresh water.
If you took the water and spread it evenly across the Continental United States, the Great Lakes would submerge our country under 9\1/2\ feet of water.
These lakes provide more than 35 million people with their drinking water. These Great Lakes support more than 3,500 species of plants and animals.
Studies have shown that more than 1\1/2\ million jobs are connected to the five lakes, and they generate $62 billion in wages.
Now, I know I have uttered those facts around the Capitol like a broken record since I got here, as have others, but these are powerful in telling our story.
An investment in protecting this national treasure is a small down payment in protecting the drinking water for millions of people.
This legislation will continue to make sure that we look at these Great Lakes as a national treasure and coordinate our investment in protecting them. Please stand with me today in sending a message to protect and preserve our Great Lakes.
Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Ryan).