Proos, Pscholka help form bipartisan Legislative Waterways Caucus

LANSING?Sen. John Proos and Rep. Al Pscholka announced today that they have joined with several colleagues to form the Legislative Waterways Caucus – a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers who have agreed to work together to address issues important to the Great Lakes.

Proos is a co-founder of the caucus and Pscholka will serve as one of the House co-chairs.

“The Great Lakes are our greatest natural resources, and play a key role in the lifestyle and local economy of many lakeshore communities, especially in Southwest Michigan,” said Pscholka, R-Stevensville. “This caucus will address critical issues facing Michigan’s waterways, from dredging in recreational harbors to promoting boating and tourism opportunities in our state. I look forward to working with my colleagues to discuss these issues in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to promote Michigan’s waterways.”

The Michigan Legislative Waterways Caucus will be a forum for a variety of Great Lakes issues, such as invasive species, Asian carp, low lake levels, tourism and recreation.

“The Great Lakes are vital to Southwest Michigan’s economy and quality of life, and this new caucus will ensure that they are protected for future generations,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Billions of dollars in economic activity and millions of people depend on the Great Lakes. I am committed to partnering with lawmakers from both chambers and both sides of the aisle to meet the challenges facing the lakes, including: stopping invasive species, addressing low water levels and protecting Michigan’s vibrant tourism, boating and fishing industries.”

Proos and Pscholka said success will also require the cooperation of the administration and applauded the governor for his commitment to dredging and support for Pure Michigan.

“I thank the governor for his commitment to answering the problem of dredging our harbors in a manner that is state-based and will last for the long-term,” said Pscholka.

“Helping make Michigan a tourism destination is already paying dividends, with $18 billion in direct tourism spending in 2011,” Proos said. “The Great Lakes support many good jobs and are a key part of what makes Southwest Michigan such a great place to live and raise a family, and I am proud to be a part of a group dedicated to the purpose of ensuring that the lakes are healthy for years to come.”