Casten Amendment to Maintain Great Lakes Advisory Board Passes by Unanimous Consent

June 25, 2019
Press Release
Congressman’s amendment included in House-passed 2nd Appropriations Minibus

Washington, D.C. U.S. Representative Sean Casten’s (IL-06) amendment to maintain the Great Lakes Advisory Board within the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative passed the House today as part of H.R. 3055, the Second Minibus of the FY 2020 Appropriations Bill. Last week, the Trump Administration signed an Executive Order requiring agencies to eliminate one-third of federal advisory boards. The boards potentially targeted by this executive order included one that handles the Great Lakes. Many federal agencies rely extensively on the advice of advisory committees, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Interior, whose advisory committees provide scientific and technical expertise. Casten spoke on the House Floor last week highlighting the importance of science advisory boards.  

To watch Rep. Casten’s floor speech, click the image above or click here.

Casten said, “The Great Lakes Advisory Board plays an essential role in providing the EPA with the technical, environmental, and local expertise needed to carry out the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

This board is one of over a thousand advisory boards that operate across the federal government.

On Friday, the Trump Administration put all of these boards at risk by signing an Executive Order eliminating one-third of federal advisory boards.

These boards provide technical expertise on topics as diverse as animal health, safe pesticide use, trade, and offer useful third-party review of scientific research conducted at federal agencies.

The Trump Administration order is arbitrary. And presents a clear threat to the ability of agencies to have the best information when making fundamental and far-reaching decisions.

While my amendment is specific to the Great Lakes Advisory Board, I’ve offered this amendment to underscore the importance of preserving funding for all of these boards.

This executive order is a mistake. It’s another stunning escalation in this Administration’s war on science and the American people deserve better. 

The package includes five FY 2020 spending bills: Commerce-Justice-Science, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. The amendment falls under the Interior-Environment portion of the Appropriations Minibus Bill, which provides $37.3 billion to protect and preserve public lands, ensure access to clean air and drinking water, and build resilience to climate change.