Project totaling $450 million will reverse decades of legacy pollution to protect natural habitats, freshwater resources, and public health
MILWAUKEE – On October 12th, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan and local officials in Milwaukee to announce $275 million she helped secure to clean up the Milwaukee Estuary. The funding, the largest cleanup project to ever be implemented under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, comes from the Baldwin-supported Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Under a new project agreement with EPA, five non-federal sponsors will also contribute $170 million, creating an estimated $450 million investment, to reverse decades of legacy pollution and protect natural habitats, freshwater resources, and public health. The project will ultimately remove the Milwaukee Estuary from the list of 25 remaining U.S. Areas of Concern – highly environmentally degraded areas found across the Great Lakes basin.
“Protecting the Great Lakes is not just an environmental goal for Wisconsin communities, it’s an economic imperative for the Badger State. I’ve been proud to support the Great Lake Restoration Initiative, which has transformed our fight to protect and restore our greatest freshwater resources, accelerating cleanup efforts to reverse decades of legacy pollution,” said Senator Baldwin. “Today’s funding announcement puts us on a path to expedite cleaning up the Milwaukee Estuary, ensuring that generations to come can reap the health, economic, and environmental benefits of a safer, more sustainable Lake Michigan watershed.”
The new project agreement reflects a partnership between EPA and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, We Energies, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the City of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County Parks to complete the cleanup of harbor and river sediments contaminated with PCBs, petroleum compounds, and heavy metals, including mercury, lead, and chromium, in the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern.
In February 2022, President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan announced a $1 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to significantly accelerate the cleanup and restoration of the Great Lakes.
Thursday, Senator Baldwin also visited with members of the United Auto Workers Local 75 at the Stellantis Mopar plant to stand in solidarity with Wisconsin workers striking for fair pay and benefits from the Big Three automakers.