The annual HILL DAY Capitol briefing sessions (virtual this year, of course) took place on 3.11.21, and the Chicago chapter, represented by MITCH MCNEIL and JUDITH MILLER, spent a busy and productive day with staff of Illinois congressmen and congresswomen.
Along with Surfrider’s Chapter Coordinator, SARAH DAMRON, the Chicago team got the attention of Senators Dick DURBIN and Tammy DUCKWORTH, along with Representatives Robin KELLY and Danny DAVIS, as a new and improved outlook reigned with the possibilities of a brand new administration.
The talks covered upcoming clean water legislation (Possibility of $10M appropriations for the EPA’s BEACH Act Grants program and $100B over 10 years for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund), then plastic pollution (in the form of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act,which will be reintroduced by Sen. Merkley and Rep Lowenthal, and among many other things, addresses plastic pollution at its source and requires plastic producers take an ownership in the waste after it leaves their plant.) And finally with ocean climate solutions legislation, such as Rep. Grijalva’s Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act, which includes increased funding for NOAA’s Coastal Zone Management, Coastal Resilience, Sea Grant, and National Marine Sanctuaries programs.
McNeil and Miller brought the discussions back around to our Lake and Southend issues (US STEEL lawsuit), as well as our ongoing experiences with plastic trash on the beaches and in the water. Our boots-on-the-ground observations played well on the hill, giving first hand weight to the subject matter. LINE 5 was also aired out as a Great Lakes issue vital to all inhabitants of the region … not just Michiganders. Oil and water do not mix.