In advance of this week’s annual Great Lakes Day in Washington, D.C., a broad coalition , including business, maritime, labor and environmental groups, regional agencies, state legislators, cities and tribes released a set of shared priorities for restoring the Great Lakes, supporting a thriving economy, and sustaining a healthy environment in the eight-state, two-province region. The coalition presents shared priorities for the Great Lakes Basin, which provides drinking water for more than 48 million people in the U.S. and Canada, hosts the world’s third largest regional economy at $6 trillion USD, and directly generates more than 1.5 million jobs.
“Restoring and protecting the Great Lakes is an enduring, bipartisan priority for the nation[s] and for Great Lakes Basin communities,” the statement reads. “Our organizations support these priorities to sustain progress, build resilience and maintain the Great Lakes as an environmental treasure, innovation hub and economic engine.”
The agenda urges Congress and the Trump administration to appropriate at least $320 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; invest in drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure; strengthen Great Lakes ports and the maritime transportation system; support conservation programs to reduce nutrient pollution that causes harmful algal blooms; protect the Great Lakes Basin from Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species; and incorporate resilience into federal programs and policies.
These 2020 Great Lakes priorities are endorsed by the Great Lakes Commission, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, American Great Lakes Ports Association, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus and BlueGreen Alliance. The priorities are being released in advance of Great Lakes Day, an annual event that brings hundreds of people and organizations to Washington, D.C. to educate elected officials about the importance of the Great Lakes Basin.