The Fund for Lake Michigan, created through a legal settlement between environmental groups and three utilities, won two more years of funding last month to support efforts to improve water quality in Lake Michigan and its tributaries. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission voted unanimously in November to allow the three utilities, including We Energies, to continue payments of $4 million a year through their rate base to the Fund for Lake Michigan.
The Fund, which is based at the Global Water Center, has supported more than 90 projects with grants totaling over $8.5 million since 2011. These grants have had a notable impact on economic growth and job creation, especially in the greater Milwaukee area. According to a study by UW-Whitewater, the Fund’s grants have helped to create roughly 500 jobs and have added more than $35 million to the local economy.
The Public Service Commission’s decision was supported by more than 100 businesses, elected officials, non-profit organizations and community leaders, including The Water Council and many of its members. The Commissioners were particularly impressed by the economic and environmental benefits that the Fund’s grants provide to ratepayers.
The Fund will issue a call for proposals in January. For more information, please contact the Fund’s Executive Director at 414-418-5008 or Vicki@fundforlakemichigan.org