Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., welcomed a public commitment today from the civilian head of the Army Corps of Engineers that $19 million in Hurricane Sandy recovery funding will be available to repair the storm's damage to Great Lakes harbors.
The commitment from Jo-Ellen Darcy, the assistant secretary of the Army for public works, came in response to a question from Levin at a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing.
"Secretary Darcy's commitment is a significant step forward in addressing this monster storm's impact on the Great Lakes," Levin said. "I and other Great Lakes state legislators fought hard to make the Great Lakes a priority, especially because we're already coping with historic low water levels and their impact on Great Lakes navigation."
During today's hearing, Levin asked Darcy about an e-mail from Army Corps of Engineers officials to his office informing him of $5.2 million in Hurricane Sandy relief funding for restoration and repairs in the Great Lakes. Darcy committed to Levin that $19 million in recovery funding will be coming to the lakes.
In January, Congress approved emergency funding for Sandy recovery efforts. While Sandy devastated communities on the East Coast, it also caused millions of dollars in damage on the Great Lakes. During debate on the legislation on the Senate floor, Levin engaged in a colloquy with Senate Appropriations Chairman Barbara Mikulski in which Mikulski confirmed that Great Lakes projects would be eligible for recovery funding.
After the legislation's package, Levin led a bipartisan group of Great Lakes senators in writing a letter to Army Corps officials making clear that Great Lakes projects were eligible for funding and urging the Corps to make recovery efforts on the lakes a priority.
The first $5.2 million in projects that the Corps disclosed in its email to Levin will cover 10 Great Lakes harbors, including six in Michigan: New Buffalo, Holland, Muskegon, Saugatuck, South Haven and St. Joseph.