Great Lakes Commission visits Capitol Hill to urge support for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Washington, D.C – Great Lakes Commissioners from the U.S. and Canada took to Capitol Hill this week to urge Congress to defend the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which is rumored to be cut by 97 percent in President Trump’s proposed budget. Commissioners visited congressional offices to encourage elected officials to protect the bipartisan GLRI, which serves as the most important line of defense against Asian carp, helps to protect drinking water for 48 million people and accelerates cleanup of Great Lakes toxic hotspots.
“Environmental cleanup leads the way for economic activity and community revitalization,” said Tim Eder, executive director of the GLC. “We must work together to protect the GLRI as well as other critical environmental work across the U.S.”
Commissioners visited offices as part of the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) 2017 Semiannual Meeting, which took place Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington, D.C. At the meeting, the GLC passed a resolution urging the governments of Canada and the United States to pursue compatible federal ballast water treatment standards and enforcement mechanisms.
Delegations from Great Lakes states and provinces, as well as observers, federal, state and nongovernmental partners attended the Semiannual Meeting. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) delivered a keynote address that focused on protecting the GLRI and the lakes overall.
“This is an all-hands on deck moment for the Great Lakes,” said Sen. Stabenow. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been critical to cleaning up our waterways, restoring fish and wildlife habitats, and fighting invasive species, like Asian carp.”
Also speaking was Scott Cameron, who was recently appointed as Special Assistant, Office of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. He passed along regards from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and committed the Secretary to visiting the Great Lakes shortly.
The meeting also included a panel focused on clean water infrastructure challenges and opportunities for Great Lakes states and provinces. The GLC recently released a suite of comprehensive recommendations to both the Canadian and U.S. governments, urging them to invest in rebuilding and modernizing aging water infrastructure in the Great Lakes region.
The GLC will next convene September 19-20, 2017 in Duluth, Minnesota. Additional information will be available at www.glc.org.
The Great Lakes Commission, led by chairman Jon Allan, director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, is an interstate compact agency established under 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 governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials 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. Learn more at www.glc.org.