WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said on Thursday efforts to clean up the Great Lakes would get a significant boost of $1 billion through the bipartisan infrastructure package.
“For decades, there was a lot of talk, a lot of plans, but very little progress, it was slow," Biden said during his remarks in Lorain, Ohio. "That changes today."
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Regan, introduced the president and touted the investment, saying it would significantly accelerate cleanup in the Great Lakes region after years of dangerous pollution buildup.
Regan called the infrastructure law a "game changer" for communities throughout the Great Lakes region.
"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a better America to ensure that water infrastructure can withstand the impacts of our changing climate, to clean up the legacy toxic pollution and contaminated lands in our overburdened communities," he said. "To create a future where all of our children, regardless of the color of their skin, how much money they have in their pockets, or the ZIP codes that they live in, can play in local rivers and streams without fear of hazard and harm, and to deliver on long overdue justice."
The $1.2 trillion infrastructure law which Biden signed in November marked a victory for the president, who made rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure a centerpiece of his campaign and who told the American people he could help usher in a new era of bipartisan cooperation.
As recently as Monday, the Biden administration announced a $5 billion investment to build electric vehicle charging stations across the country in a bid to ease U.S. dependence on gas-powered cars, which is another part of the infrastructure law.
"Now, with our infrastructure law, we’re reinvesting in our economy and in our people, reclaiming our leadership and creating millions of jobs for building a better America. That’s what we’re going to do," Biden said.
According to the EPA, the United States and Canada have listed 43 sites — 26 of them in the U.S. — as areas of concern where contaminated sediments make the waters unsuitable for fishing, swimming and other uses.