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U.S. House passes funding to protect Great Lakes communities from erosion

Posted: 6:22 PM, Dec 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-10 20:55:43-05
Ottawa County warns of beach erosion, steep drop-offs

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives approved tens of millions of dollars of spending to assist communities affected by erosion, coastal storms, and high water.

Congressman Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, introduced the amendment to the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act, which authorizes $50 million per year for five years to communities hit by dangerous conditions. The move creates a "Living Shoreline Grant Program."

“Our communities are facing devastating consequences if we don't act to protect our shorelines now,” Huizenga said. “It is imperative that resources are provided through all available options to enhance the shorelines of the Great Lakes and protect our homes and our communities."

The legislation, called "The Huizenga Amendment" was passed unanimously.

This comes the same day a group of Michigan Senate Republicans wrote a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, asking her to declare a state of emergency for the entirety of Lake Michigan's shoreline in the state due to erosion.

"Public infrastructure including roads, bridges, and docks have been battered and in some cases actually lost," Huizenga said when he addressed members of Congress. "Recreational beaches have disappeared and others covered with dangerous debris. Habitats have been destroyed and numerous homes are teetering on the edge of dune cliffs or threatened by the rising water level."