7/20/2011- During today’s markup on the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (H.R. 2583), Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, offered amendments which seek to protect the Great Lakes.
“The Great Lakes are vital economic and environmental resources for the communities I represent and the environmental health of those lakes is critical to our future,” Higgins said during the hearing.
One amendment presented by Congressman Higgins would have restored $750,000 in funding to the International Joint Commission to allow it to continue its efforts along the Country’s Northern Border with Canada, which has included addressing issues of water quality in the Great Lakes.
The second amendment would have restored $7.6 million in funding to the International Fisheries Commission to allow the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission to continue their efforts to combat invasive species that threaten the Great Lakes. Great Lakes fisheries and recreational boating industries are worth over $7 billion and $16 billion respectively. Both amendments failed to receive a majority of votes by a slim margin.
Congressman Higgins is a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Caucus and recently called on the Ohio Governor to veto legislation that would have siphoned 5 gallons of water a day from Lake Erie.