Back in September, a key bill in Congress, labeled H.R. 1775 “The Estuary Restoration Act,” was showing clear signs of stalling and being shelved. The bill had the potential to bring millions of federal dollars to restoring our nation’s estuaries, including those associated with the Great Lakes, and would be one of the greatest environmental acts to be passed in years.
Due to partisan politics, a few key motivators of the bill, including Minnesota’s Representative Oberstar were in a position to let the bill sit without passing before this session’s closure.
Thanks to strong pressure from Minnesota citizens, local environmental groups and the National Environmental Trust (NET), the bill passed. Paul Blackburn, Regional Field Manager for NET, attributed much of the bill’s success to the tight grassroots environmental community of northern Minnesota. “Folks here still view the turning point in the process as being Representative Oberstar’s willingness to move the bill forward to a floor vote and they credit the Duluth community’s efforts as being the key element in this effort.” said Blackburn from his Washington D.C. office.