Congress gets its act together to pass a water bill

The U.S. House on Wednesday, followed by the Senate Thursday, passed the $12 billion Water Resources Reform and Development Act. We, as anyone living where water is important to business, industry, tourism and everyday life, have been following the bill’s progress and support is passing.

Particularly noteworthy of the bill, essentially the first infrastructure bill passed this year, is the overwhelming bipartisan support it received from the Republican-controlled Houghton. A body known more for its political stand-offs these days than for getting along.

In fact just four members of Congress voted against the bill. Among the four, all Republicans, in a representative from Michigan, Justin Amash of Kentwood.

As we mentioned, if you live near water it is difficult not to like at least something about the bill.

For those of us on the Great Lakes one of the more significant aspects of the bill was language written by Michigan Representatives Candace Miller and Bill Huizenga classifying the Great Lakes Navigation System as a unified Body.

According to a press release from Huizenga, the language is important as it puts the Great Lakes on an equal footing with other water systems across the country. According to Huizenga “The new classification will improve harbor dredging acrosss the Great Lakes, help shorten the dredging backlog for Michigan harbors and further increase economic activity on the Great Lakes, that supports approximately 130,000 jobs.”

We support this measure and look forward to it being signed by the president.

In an era where it seems politicians refuse to get along, it is gratifying to see near unanimous support for something as vital as the Great Lakes and the nation waterways in general.