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CGLG Annual Meeting Press Release - July 10, 1997



NEWS RELEASE

Council of Great Lakes Governors
35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 1850
Chicago, IL  60601

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Lois Morrison (312) 407-0177

GOVERNOR RIDGE OPENS GREAT LAKES GOVERNORS MEETING
Brownfields Grant, Tour of Ship Highlight Day One

Erie, PA (July 10) -- Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge and the other members of 
the Council of Great Lakes Governors today received a $382,000 grant to 
support brownfields redevelopment, highlighting the first day of their annual 
meeting in Erie.

The Great Lakes Protection Fund presented the grant to the governors to 
support the Great Lakes states' efforts to restore abandoned industrial sites 
to productive use.  Brownfields programs - also known as land recycling 
programs - encourage companies to locate on abandoned industrial properties by 
offering more limited liability and more reasonable cleanup standards as 
incentives.  Such programs enhance job-creation and job retention throughout 
the Great Lakes states, while also resulting in environmental benefits.

"The Great Lakes Governors want to find the best ways to ensure that 
contaminated sites are cleaned up to healthy levels and that they are put back 
into productive use," said Ridge, chairman of the Council.  

Ridge was joined by Governors Edgar (IL), O'Bannon (IN) and Thompson (WI) as 
well as Ontario Premier Michael Harris and Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard.

The announcement was made at Erie's Metro Machine Shipyard, in front of The 
Algonorth - a Great Lakes bulk carrier that also serves as a floating 
laboratory for scientists and engineers exploring ways to prevent aquatic 
pests and parasites from entering the Great Lakes.  The U.S. Governors and 
Canadian Premiers toured the ship and received an update on the project, which 
was launched at the Council of Great Lakes Governors meeting last year.

Organisms such as sea lamprey and zebra mussels have been transferred to the 
lakes from ballast tanks of cargo ships, causing hundreds of millions of 
dollars in damage to fisheries, recreation industries, and water supply 
infrastructure.

"We are proud to help develop technologies that will reduce the risk of 
unwelcome aquatic nuisance species that can arrive unintentionally with world 
commerce," said Ridge. "As states, we are connected to the needs and interests 
of the Great Lakes.  This ballast water initiative recognizes that we are also 
connected as a region to the rest of the world."

The Algonorth project is supported by a $1 million grant awarded by the Great 
Lakes Protection Fund last year.  The Fund was created in the mid 1980s 
through an endowment from the Great Lakes states. Following their tour aboard 
the Algonorth, officials again turned their focus to brownfields, holding a 
roundtable discussion on the topic at the Avalon Hotel in Erie.  At last 
year's meeting, the Council adopted a regional proposal offered by Ridge to 
help the Great Lakes states further promote the cleanup and reuse of abandoned 
industrial sites.

The regional strategy has included the establishment of an Internet website to 
provide Great Lakes states quick access to information about one another's 
programs.  Also, the states compared their programs and compiled a list of 
"best practices" which they draw upon to improve individual programs.

Ridge maintains that a regional emphasis on restoring abandoned industrial 
sites will continue to help the Great Lakes region shed its "rustbelt" image.

"A cooperative effort in the area of industrial site reuse is becoming 
increasingly important," Ridge states.  "Thousands of vacant and under-used 
industrial sites can be found throughout our region and if treated properly, 
can become a key regional resource.  As we turn our attention to industrial 
site reuse, we will take the final step needed to put our rustbelt image to 
rest."

The Council of Great Lakes Governors is a private non-profit organization 
dedicated to the environmental and economic interests of its member states; 
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and 
Wisconsin.