S 504: Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2015

This bill amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to expand the purpose of the Act to include achieving the goals established in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan and the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy.

This bill reauthorizes through FY2020 the Great Lakes Legacy Act for the remediation of sediment contamination in areas of concern, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Great Lakes National Program Office, and EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The Initiative must prioritize work done by non-federal partners in specified focus areas. Initiative funding may not be used for a water infrastructure activity that is implemented using funds made available under the clean water or drinking water state revolving fund programs, except green infrastructure projects that improve habitat and other ecosystem functions in the Great Lakes.

Federal agencies must maintain the base level of funding for their Great Lakes activities and identify new activities to support the environmental goals of the Initiative.

The bill codifies the establishment of the Great Lakes Advisory Board and the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force, which were previously established by the EPA. The Board must provide advice and recommendations to the EPA on matters pertaining to Great Lakes restoration and protection. The Task Force must collaborate with Canada and coordinate the development of federal policy on Great Lakes restoration and protection.

S 504 is sponsored by Senator Tammy Baldwin.