WASHINGTON, D.C. – Investments and reforms to improve our water infrastructure for our shipping economy on the Great Lakes and Mississippi, protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp and develop innovative clean energy championed by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, have been included in the FY17 Energy and Water Development funding legislation passed by the U.S. Senate today.
“I am proud to fight for smart investments to build a strong Made in Wisconsin economy,” said Senator Baldwin. “In order for America to succeed and create new opportunities for growth, we need to invest in our Great Lakes and Mississippi River ports and in the next generation of energy innovation.”
Senator Baldwin championed the following investments in the FY17 Energy and Water Development legislation:
Strengthening our water infrastructure
The legislation includes investments in navigation projects essential to the Great Lakes and will hold the Army Corps of Engineers accountable in moving forward with the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program, a vital and unique partnership between the commercial, recreational and environmental advocates of our nation’s inland waterways. Strong funding for dredging and maintenance work in the Great Lakes will promote our nation’s manufacturing, industrial and agricultural economy. In Wisconsin, critical dredging and other maintenance work will continue in the Milwaukee, Green Bay, Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay harbors.
Blocking Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes
The legislation includes funding for efforts aimed at safeguarding the Great Lakes from invasive Asian carp, which would devastate native fish species, endanger Great Lake ecosystems, harm Great Lakes recreation and threaten the $7 billion fishery industry. Senator Baldwin fought for full funding for the Army Corps project to fortify the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to prevent the upstream movement of Asian Carp through the Illinois River to Lake Michigan. The legislation also includes strong direction to the Army Corps and other agencies to ensure they have an emergency plan in place to react to the upstream movement of Asian Carp.
Increasing efficiency of wastewater systems
The legislation includes a $1.5 million investment in the Department of Energy Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) to expand the technical assessment services they provide to water and wastewater treatment facilities, including systems that treat municipal, industrial, and agricultural waste. UW-Milwaukee is home to one of 24 IACs in the nation. Furthermore, when communities reduce their costs for wastewater treatment, they free up funds they can use to address water quality issues, including lead pipe replacement. The legislation includes funding for Senator Baldwin’s Water Efficiency Innovation Act, which was included in the recently passed bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act.
Promoting energy efficiency for U.S manufacturers
The legislation includes investments in research and development to support American machinery manufacturers. A $5 million investment in research at the Department of Energy will help Wisconsin equipment manufacturers through a new effort in the DOE Vehicle Systems program to improve the energy efficiency of fluid power systems for commercial off-road vehicles. This funding will support development of more efficient hydraulics systems and thereby improve the competitiveness of Wisconsin equipment manufacturers in the global marketplace. This critical research will help reduce the vehicles total cost of ownership, and energy consumption, as well as carbon dioxide emissions.
Assisting development of cleaner vehicles
The legislation includes increased investments in the Clean Cities Alternative Fuels and Deployment Program. Clean Cities grants support innovative alternative fuel and infrastructure projects and utilize the unique strengths of local coalitions to implement the projects within their communities.
Protecting the health of the Mississippi River
The legislation includes additional resources for the Upper Mississippi River System. These investments will support construction of innovative habitat restoration projects that are critical to the continued viability of the river’s ecosystem.