Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Congressional Members Urge Candidate Support For Great Lakes

Dec 11: Congressmen Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Vern Ehlers (R-MI) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) joined environmental leaders of the Healing Our Waters®-Great Lakes Coalition to call on all Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to sign a candidate pledge to protect and restore the Great Lakes. The pledge, which was sent to all presidential candidates, requests that the next president: (1) appoint a cabinet-level official to oversee and lead the implementation of a recently-finalized Great Lakes Collaboration Restoration Strategy, (2) prepare an interdepartmental Great Lakes restoration budget for their administration -- if elected -- to allow the public to gauge progress, and (3) fund the implementation of the Great Lakes Restoration Collaboration Strategy to ensure all of the identified activities have been fully funded.

Congressman Kirk is a co-chair of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force and an original co-sponsor of the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act (H.R. 1350). Congressman Emanuel co-authored with Congressman Ehlers the first such bills as early as 2003. Congressman Lipinski is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 1350. The pledge letter sent to all candidates and signed by the four members of Congress begins, "As you work to craft your presidential platform, we, as elected officials encourage you to adopt comprehensive Great Lakes restoration as a key element of your campaign. One of the clearest ways to demonstrate your support is to sign the attached pledge so we know that Great Lakes restoration will be a priority of your administration." The letter concludes, "We are serious about ensuring that this plan gets implemented. After years of stop and start restoration efforts, the time has come for a full commitment to restore the Great Lakes. Investing in this valuable resource now will save us from having to later spend many times more. Just as it is important for any administration to protect the Everglades, Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, it is crucial that the next Administration commit to Great Lakes restoration for generations to come. We strongly urge you to sign the following pledge to demonstrate your commitment to Great Lakes protection and restoration."

Access a posted release including the letter and pledge (
click here). Access legislative details for H.R.1350 of 2007 (click here). Access the Access the WIMS new Great Lakes Environment Blog for additional information (click here).