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Senate bill would authorize Great Lakes programs

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would authorize money for programs to protect Great Lakes water quality.

Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Mark Kirk of Illinois introduced the measure Wednesday. They are co-chairmen of the Senate’s Great Lakes Task Force.

The bill would continue the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which President Barack Obama began in 2009 to focus on the most pressing challenges to the lakes, including invasive species, toxic contamination and runoff pollution.

It also would reauthorize the Great Lakes Legacy Act program, which supports removal of contaminated sediments at more than 30 sites. It would establish an interagency task force designed to ensure efficient use of taxpayer dollars and close coordination among local, state and federal governments.

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