Alliance for the Great Lakes
For Immediate Release
Nov. 7, 2007
Gary Ballesteros, chairman, Alliance board of directors:
(414) 333-8220 (cell)
Sharon Cook, director, water conservation program:
(414) 232-6051 (cell)
Great Lakes Citizens Organization Praises Gov. Doyles Call for Great Lakes Recovery
MILWAUKEE -- The Alliance for the Great Lakes and the Healing Our Waters Coalition of nearly 100 organizations from around the region today praised Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyles latest push to press for key Great Lakes protections and elevate the Lakes to a national priority.
Doyle, who is chairman of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, is expected Thursday to call on presidential candidates to outline their vision for the future of the Great Lakes.
Water is the new oil, said Gary W. Ballesteros, recently elected as the first Wisconsinite in decades to serve as chairman of the board of directors of the Alliance for the Great Lakes. Containing 95 percent of the nations fresh surface water, restoring the Great Lakes is a national security, economic and public health imperative. The Alliance and the HOW Coalition strongly endorse Gov. Doyles call for presidential candidates to pledge to restore the Great Lakes.
Doyle is also announcing a major push for the Wisconsin Legislature and five other state legislatures in the region to endorse the Great Lakes Basin Water Resources Compact. The two-year anniversary marking when the eight Great Lakes states governors gathered in Milwaukee to sign the landmark compact on Dec. 13, 2005 is approaching. Wisconsins neighbors Minnesota and Illinois passed the compact into law earlier this year.
The compact will provide a set of uniform, binding water use standards for the region. Among its key protections: a requirement for water conservation measures to ensure limited harm to Great Lakes ecosystems; public participation and enforcement; and state flexibility to go beyond the minimum protections in the compact.
Once endorsed by the legislatures of all the Great Lakes states, the compact moves to the U.S. Congress for final ratification. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec helped establish a complementary agreement that mirrors the compact.
The Great Lakes are a resource for us to use and protect, not a commodity to sell to the highest bidder, said Sharon Cook, who runs the Alliances water conservation program from the Alliances Milwaukee office.
They are not a resource to be squandered by any one industry, person or community at the expense of all of us, she said. Those of us who live, work and play here in the water belt of the nation have a responsibility to pass a strong compact to protect the Lakes -- not for a single interest, but for our families and future generations.
# # # #
Formed in 1970, the Alliance for the Great Lakes (formerly the Lake Michigan Federation) is the oldest citizens' Great Lakes organization in North America. Its mission is to conserve and restore the world's largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife. More about the Alliance is online at www.greatlakes.org.
Gary Ballesteros was elected as Chairman of the Alliance for the Great Lakes Board of Directors two weeks ago. He is Vice President-Law at Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee.
Formerly Director of Intergovernmental Relations to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Sharon Cook is the Alliances Program Director, heading the organizations efforts to pass the Compact.
Major funding for the Alliance's water conservation program is generously provided by the Oberweiler Foundation in Illinois, Brico Fund in Milwaukee and members of the Alliance.
Alliance for the Great Lakes