LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) — President Joe Biden, travelling with EPA Administrator Michael Regan, visited Lorain on Thursday to unveil a new $1-billion effort, targeting the cleanup of nearly two dozen historically degraded or polluted sites along the Great Lakes.
Those sites include the Black River in Lorain, and the Cuyahoga River.
“For decades there was a lot of talk, a lot of plans but very little progress . It was slow. That changes today,” said Biden.
The money will come from a bipartisan infrastructure bill that is intended to improve roads and bridges, power grids and more across the country and in Ohio.
“It’s going to allow for the most significant restoration of the Great Lakes in the history of the Great Lakes. We are going to accelerate cleanup of sites in six states in the Great Lakes basin,” said Biden.
The announcement was made at the Shipyards development in Lorain on the banks of the Black River at Lake Erie.
“What you have done here in Lorain shows what’s possible; you have reclaimed your waterfront, cleaned your drinking water. restored wetlands,” he added.
Calling the Great Lakes a vitaI economic engine the president, along with the EPA administrator, released a statement earlier Thursday morning saying the project would help support more than 1.3 million jobs and create significant economic health and recreational benefits.
“We are making the single largest investment in US water infrastructure in American history,” Regan told the small audience in Lorain, explaining that the Great Lakes provide drinking water to 40-million people as well as recreational and business opportunities.
“Every dollar we spend cleaning up the Great Lakes generates between three and four dollars in economic benefit that’s a fact and its a really good investment,” said Biden.
“Here in Ohio that means an investment of $242 million in infrastructure funding in this year alone which will create 3,700 jobs,” said Regan.
The president also said he believes the effort will help restore natural habitat used by native species. The effort was applauded by Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley, who earlier told FOX 8 he would like to see some of the funding used for a feasibility study to build a U.S. Naval shipyard in Lorain.
“This all started — this remediation of the Black River– all started when President Joe Biden was vice president, Joe Biden under the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ” said Bradley. “It is our sincere hope that by 2030, the Black River will no longer be an area of concern and the eco system will be renewed from all the years of neglect.”
The Republican National Committee released the following statement concerning Biden’s Northeast Ohio visit:
“Joe Biden’s attempts to bolster his sinking poll numbers to save vulnerable Democrats ahead of the midterms will fail. Buckeye voters know Joe Biden is synonymous with record-breaking inflation, empty shelves, lower wages, rising crime, and desolate storefronts.”