House and Senate negotiators emerged on Monday with an agreement on a $1.012 trillion spending bill. The moment represents a rare show of bridging differences. It also marked a triumph for the Great Lakes.
Count among the bill’s provisions $300 million devoted to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. That is the amount advocates realistically pursued, knowing that at one point last year the House appeared headed toward making available the disappointing sum of $60 million.
The $300 million falls into line with the previous commitments started five years ago. So far, $1.3 billion has been routed to the initiative. Know that the cost for the total project approaches $25 billion. Thus, it is crucial to sustain the momentum that has been built.
The money goes to endeavors larger and smaller, aimed at such things as removing steel slag and sediment, deterring invasive species, reviving habitats and curbing runoff. See the difference, for instance, in the Ashtabula River and the establishment of the Lake Erie Bluffs Park.
The support for the lakes has been refreshingly bipartisan, too. Of particular note has been the work of U.S. Rep. David Joyce. The Geauga County Republican faced a stiff current in his own caucus. Yet he pressed ahead successfully.