February 18, 2022

Duckworth, Schneider, Foster, Underwood and Krishnamoorthi Highlight How Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is Helping Protect Lake Michigan, Provide Cleaner Water & Create Jobs


[WAUKEGAN, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) along with U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08) today were joined by Senior Advisor to President Biden on Infrastructure Coordination Mitch Landrieu and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore in highlighting how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is helping restore the Great Lakes and strengthen Illinois’s economy in the process. This week, EPA announced that as a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law several degraded sites along the Great Lakes, known as Areas of Concern, will be cleaned up, including along Lake Michigan in Waukegan. More than 40 million people across the U.S. and Canada rely on the Great Lakes as a source of drinking water making restoration of these sites critical in helping provide safer drinking water to families across the region. Photos from today’s event are available here.

“Improving infrastructure means making sure that families—no matter where they live, their income level or skin color—have access to clean drinking water,” Duckworth said. “Making sure these Areas of Concern along the Great Lakes, like here in Waukegan, are cleaned up means families across the entire region are protected from a legacy of toxins that could poison their children. I’m proud to see the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law at work here in Illinois to help ensure safer drinking water and to protect the millions of jobs the Great Lakes support throughout the region.”

“The Great Lakes are a jewel of our nation; we’re going to protect and preserve them. Today’s investment in Waukegan means that we are going to come back to celebrations in Waukegan with access to our beaches and kids running in the water. When we have bills like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and when we make a difference in our lives, in the lives of our kids, and in their future, we know our government’s working. This is how government can work and this is why I’m proud of this bill,” said Schneider.

“The bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act is delivering for Illinois and our region,” Foster said. “The Great Lakes are a national treasure, as are the lakes and rivers that make up the entire Great Lakes region. I’m proud that the new infrastructure law means more resources are available to protect these important natural resources for generations to come.”

“Waukegan Harbor in Lake County, located in northern Illinois, has been marked an ‘Area of Concern’ for more than 30 years, and I am so pleased to finally see investments to restore this ecosystem,” said Underwood. “As we face the most pressing environmental issues of our time, I’m proud to have supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which directly invests in accelerating sustainable solutions, like this one, to protect our community’s health and quality of life while creating good-paying jobs.”

“The bipartisan infrastructure package’s $1 billion in environmental cleanup funding for the Great Lakes will make a profound difference in clearing up the most damaged areas,” Krishnamoorthi said. “That means continuing the work of cleaning up nearly a century of local pollution which threatens the safety of drinking water in our region. That reality is a clear reminder that there is no disconnect between environmental health and human health. This will help everyone who depends on the Great Lakes, whether it’s the 40 million Americans who depend on them for a water source or the 1.5 million jobs are connected to the lakes.”

EPA announced this week that as a direct result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the agency will make significant progress in the clean-up and restoration of the Great Lakes’ most environmentally degraded sites, securing clean water and a better environment for millions of Americans in the Great Lakes region. The agency will use the bulk of the $1 billion investment in the Great Lakes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up and restore severely degraded sites, allowing for a major acceleration of progress that will deliver significant environmental, economic, health, and recreational benefits for communities in Illinois and throughout the Great Lakes region.

A 2020 analysis of the Great Lakes determined that the region supports more than 1.3 million jobs, generating $82 billion in wages annually.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes Duckworth’s entire Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA), which would help rebuild our nation’s crumbling and dangerous water infrastructure. As a result of her leadership, Illinois—which contains the most known lead service lines of any state in the nation—will be able to dramatically accelerate projects to remove dangerous lead pipes and protect countless children against permanent, irreversible brain damage from drinking lead-contaminated water. Duckworth is also a co-founder of the Senate’s first Environmental Justice Caucus.