Ann Arbor, Mich. – Nathaniel E. Robinson, chairman of the Board of the Great Lakes Commission, has announced a series of organizational initiatives to help ensure environmental and economic prosperity for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region. “This region is experiencing an unprecedented number of public policy challenges and opportunities, and it is imperative that the Great Lakes Commission is well positioned to be both a leader and a partner,” notes Robinson. “Building on our past success, we plan to give our world-class resource just what it needs: a world class organization that serves its state and provincial members by providing an objective and effective voice on the leading issues of our day.” Toward this end, several organizational initiatives are underway:

  • The position of President / Chief Executive Officer has been established and filled by Dr. Michael J. Donahue, who previously held the title of executive director. “This title change acknowledges the evolution of the senior staff position in recent years, and the full breadth of associated responsibilities,” explains Robinson. “Dr. Donahue has been the key to the unprecedented growth and stature of this organization, and has a well-deserved reputation for getting things done.” The title change was unanimously endorsed by the Board of Directors in mid-March, at which time Donahue was commended, by unanimous vote, for his leadership in moving Commission priorities forward.In a related action, the Executive Committee has been retitled “Board of Directors” to better acknowledge the role and responsibilities of state delegation chairs in guiding the organization’s overall direction. And, the position of “Immediate Past Chair” has been established to recognize and fully employ the expertise of members who have served in a leadership role. Irene Brooks of Pennsylvania presently holds this title.
  • The Commission has released its U.S. federal legislative and appropriations priorities in the form of “The Great Lakes Program to Ensure Environmental and Economic Prosperity.” The theme and direction of this year’s statement was engineered by Robinson and endorsed by the Great Lakes Commission membership. The statement presents 39 “priority actions” under seven themes: cleaning up toxic hot spots; shutting the door on invasive species; controlling nonpoint source pollution; restoring and conserving wetlands and critical coastal habitat; ensuring the sustainable use of our water resources; strengthening our decision support capability; and enhancing the commercial and recreational value of our waterways.”The statement is presented as a work in progress,” Robinson states. “It will guide Commission advocacy efforts and also contribute to regionwide consensus on a large-scale legislative/appropriations package.” The public can access The Great Lakes Program via the Commission’s web site atprojects.glc.org
  • The Great Lakes Commission is engaging in a feasibility study for an Endowment Fund intended to augment member dues and provide the resources needed for enhanced advocacy efforts and special projects. The Commission, given its nonprofit status, is able to accept tax deductible charitable contributions that can help advance its efforts to ensure environmental and economic prosperity for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region. “The Commission’s advocacy role is founded in state and U.S. federal law and, as such, the organization is ideally positioned to advance the vision, goals and objectives of its membership,” states Robinson. “An endowment fund would provide everyone — organizations and individuals alike — an opportunity to promote informed decisions on key public policy issues.”
  • The Commission’s 2001 Semiannual Meeting, to be held May 15-16 in Ann Arbor, Mich., will provide the membership — and the entire Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Community — with an opportunity to help shape future organizational priorities. Breakout sessions will allow all interested parties to focus on current and emerging issues that include resource management and environmental quality, communications and information management, and transportation and sustainable development. Special sessions will highlight current efforts to address water management/lake level issues, as well as oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes.

Readers are invited to consult the Commission’s web site (projects.glc.org/) to review its recently released 2000 Annual Report, and learn about more organizational initiatives that will help advance the region’s environmental and economic prosperity.

For immediate release: April 25, 2001
Contact: Nathaniel E. Robinson, Chairman of the Board, robinson@board.rec.wi.us, office: 608-266-7257

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The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Nathaniel E. Robinson (Wisconsin), is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency created by state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of state legislators, agency officials and governors’ appointees from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.