Stefanik’s St. Lawrence River protection act passes in National Defense Authorization Act
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s bipartisan St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes Waterways Protection Act and key provisions to protect Lake Champlain from invasive species were included and passed in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“I’m proud to work to ensure our natural ecosystems in Upstate New York and the North Country are protected for generations to come,” Stefanik said. “I will always bring the concerns of New York’s 21st District to the highest levels, and when I saw the St. Lawrence River was left out of the scope of the U.S. Coast Guard’s critical work, I took bipartisan action to preserve and protect our river communities against oil spills by supporting the research and response. Additionally, I have worked to protect and support Lake Champlain’s natural biodiversity by authorizing the construction of an invasive species barrier. Following my advocacy, these critical provisions to protect and preserve our ecosystems are on their way to becoming law.”Stefanik’s provision will ensure that the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Center of Expertise for Great Lakes Oil Spill Preparedness and Response will study the impact of oil spills in the St. Lawrence River and develop best practices for responding to any spill that may occur in freshwater environments. Stefanik introduced this bill in January to ensure the St. Lawrence River is no longer left out of the scope of the Coast Guard’s work. This will help preserve the St. Lawrence River’s role as an integral access point to the Great Lakes.
Additionally, Stefanik led a provision in the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which would modify a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Lake Champlain authority to authorize USACE to create a physical barrier to stem the flow of invasive species making their way to Lake Champlain. Stefanik has worked over the last two years to hold USCAE accountable to a timeline to complete the feasibility study of creating an invasive species barrier in the Lake Champlain Canal.
After the Senate passes this final version of the NDAA, it will be sent to the President to be signed into law.