Marcy Kaptur

12/23/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/23/2022 13:31

Kaptur Bill to Create Great Lakes Authority Passes Congress, Will Be Signed Into LawPress ReleaseTradeJobs and the EconomyEnergy

Washington, D.C.- Today, Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-09) - Chair of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee and Co-Chair of the bipartisan House Great Lakes Task Force - released the following statement after the House and Senate passed omnibus appropriations legislation that includes her bill to create the Great Lakes Authority. The legislation will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.

Today, an amended version of Rep. Kaptur's bill to create the Great Lakes Authority was passed by the House and Senate as a part of omnibus appropriations legislation to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2023.

Conceived by Rep. Kaptur as a federal authority with a structure and mission similar to the Appalachian Regional Commission, the newly established Great Lakes Authority will operate as a federal regional commission dedicated to identifying and advancing solutions to the economic and environmental challenges facing the eight states of the Great Lakes region: Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and New York. Together, these eight states contain the core of the United States' commercial and defense industrial base and border the largest system of accessible surface freshwater in the world.

In March 2022, Rep. Kaptur introducedH.R. 7131 - the Great Lakes Authority Act - with the support of eleven Great Lakes colleagues in the House. In December, Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced a companion to Rep. Kaptur's bill in the Senate.

The Great Lakes Authority will be empowered to:

  • Grow the capacity for successful community economic development by deploying grants to programs focused on workforce skills training, employment-related education, entrepreneurship, technology, and business development as well as for transportation, telecommunications, and public infrastructure projects
  • Promote the development of renewable and alternative energy sources as well as resource conservation, tourism, recreation, and preservation of open spaces in a manner consistent with economic development goals
  • Provide assistance to severely economically distressed and underdeveloped areas that lack financial resources for improving basic healthcare and other public services

The omnibus appropriations legislation authorizes the Great Lakes Authority to receive - beginning in fiscal year 2024 - the same funding levels as the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission, the Southwest Border Regional Commission, and the Northern Border Regional Commission. Currently, these three Regional Commissions are each authorized to receive $33 million annually through fiscal year 2023. The fiscal year 2024 funding levels for the three Regional Commissions and the Great Lakes Authority will be determined by the 118th Congress.

"The Great Lakes Authority represents a new vision for how to harness existing assets and focus attention and resources to the corner of our nation that makes, builds, and grows America," said Rep. Kaptur. "As the home of a highly-skilled workforce, North America's freshwater kingdom, and a growing, innovative hub of manufacturing, energy, agriculture, and defense - the Great Lakes region is poised and ready to capture the future. Through the collaborative work of Republicans and Democrats, our new Great Lakes Authority will serve as a powerful catalyst to strengthen America's heartland and move us ahead for the 21st century."

"We need to make sure Michigan and other Great Lakes states have the resources and funding to promote economic growth, job training opportunities, and community development just like other regions across the country do," said Sen. Stabenow. "This bipartisan bill will create an important partnership to give state and local governments the tools they need to create jobs, boost their economy, and transform communities."

"The Great Lakes region is not only a treasured environmental watershed, but a uniquely positioned powerhouse for American industry, agriculture, and manufacturing," said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12). "But for decades, communities like the ones I represent have borne the brunt of job loss and economic downturn as the result of disastrous trade policies, underinvestment, and deindustrialization. The Great Lakes Authority will help reverse these losses and create a strategic partnership to strengthen the Great Lakes economy, as well as the nation, by boosting investments in long-term economic development projects across the manufacturing, defense, infrastructure, and clean energy sectors."

"Ohio has always been proud to be home to industries that form the backbone of our nation's economy - and the Great Lakes Authority will help ensure that continues," said Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH-11). "For decades, the Great Lakes region has lacked a proper federal Regional Commission. With the creation of the Great Lakes Authority in the FY23 government funding bill, this disparity is addressed, and the region will be able to explore unique opportunities and respond to complex challenges in the coming years while continuing to support the American economy."

The legislative text outlining the establishment of the Great Lakes Authority can be found here.

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For more information, contact Chris Dalton at [email protected].