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GLIN==> 2004 Great Lakes Program released



Title:
For immediate release
Contact: Mike Donahue, mdonahue@glc.org, 734-971-9135


Great Lakes Commission legislative, appropriations priorities available at at www.glc.org/restore

CONGRESS URGED TO ACT ON GREAT LAKES RESTORATION AND PROTECTION

Washington, D.C.  —  Shut the door on invasive species. Clean up toxic hot spots. Ensure the health and vitality of our water resources.

Those are among the goals set forth by the Great Lakes Commission today as it released its annual recommendations for federal action to “Restore the Greatness!” to the world’s greatest system of freshwater, the Great Lakes.

The Commission’s "2004 Great Lakes Program to Ensure Environmental and Economic Prosperity" was presented to members of Congress and regional leaders gathered for Great Lakes Day in Washington, an annual forum on Great Lakes issues and legislation in the nation’s capital. A blueprint for needed legislation and appropriations, the document represents the collective priorities of the Commission’s eight member states.

Among many others, the Great Lakes Program calls for passage of the National Aquatic Invasive Species Act; directing $54 million a year through the Great Lakes Legacy Act to clean up the toxic hot spots known as Areas of Concern; and establishing a comprehensive program for Great Lakes restoration through a federal/state partnership.

“The Great Lakes are one of the great natural wonders of the world and the lifeblood of our region,” said Dr. Michael J. Donahue, president/CEO of the Great Lakes Commission. “The Great Lakes Program is our prescription for giving these national and international treasures the care they deserve!”
                            
The Great Lakes Program is built around seven key themes, or goals, the Commission views as essential to restoring, protecting and sustainably using the natural resources of the Great Lakes basin:

• 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
• Enhancing the commercial and recreational value of our waterways

Each theme, in turn, is supported by recommendations for specific measures the Commission is asking Congress to enact this year in pursuit of these objectives.

The Great Lakes Program forms the basis for the Commission’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the Great Lakes region and its member states. The Great Lakes Program also provides a basis for building regional partnerships and, in so doing, will contribute to ongoing efforts to achieve a large-scale ecosystem restoration and protection program.

Great Lakes Day in Washington is an annual event featuring a breakfast meeting and issues briefing for members of Congress, regional leaders and legislative staff. Speakers this year included Sens. Mike DeWine (OH) and Debbie Stabenow (MI), and Rep. Thomas Reynolds (NY). The Great Lakes Congressional Breakfast is co-sponsored by the Great Lakes Commission and the Northeast-Midwest Institute, and the Great Lakes Issues Briefing is sponsored by the Commission.

Founded in U.S. federal and state law, the Great Lakes Commission is a regional advocate for its member states, promoting the sustainable use and protection of the water and related resources of the Great Lakes basin. Its members include the eight Great Lakes states, with associate member status for Ontario and Québec.

The Great Lakes Program is available online at www.glc.org/restore. Print copies are available by contacting the Great Lakes Commission at 734-971-9135 or by e-mail at kirkh@glc.org.

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The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Samuel W. Speck (Ohio), 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 LakesSt. 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.