Friday, November 7, 2008

Groups Excited About Great Lakes Under Obama Presidency

Nov 6: Citing the fact that both President-elect, Barack Obama and his newly appointed Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel are both from Chicago and very familiar with the plight of the Great Lakes, Great Lakes organizations expressed excitement at a teleconference they held about the way forward for the Great Lakes.

A release from the Alliance for the Great Lakes indicates, "The election of Barack Obama as president and the Great Lakes policies he’s embraced portend good things for the Great Lakes. . . U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel’s decision to serve as Obama’s chief of staff may open doors for the Great Lakes a little further." Alliance President Cameron Davis, who served as a senior advisor to the Obama-Biden campaign in his personal capacity but spoke solely on the Alliance’s behalf at the event said, “This is a momentous time for the country, for the world and, of course, for the region. We are very excited here at the Alliance for the Great Lakes for the doors that have opened.”

Davis and Michael Kraft, professor of public and environmental affairs and political science chairman at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, led the hour-long teleconference that attracted an unprecedented 140-plus participants from around the Great Lakes region and Canada and included leading federal and state environmental officials, political leaders, advocates and the media. Kraft, author of numerous books on environmental policy, forecast the country will see a “striking difference” between the evolving Obama administration and that of President Bush, citing as an example the matter of scientific integrity -- on which Bush has been criticized by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Kraft and Davis agreed, however, that the economic downturn could present a hurdle to progress on the Great Lakes and other environmental initiatives. Given that scenario, Davis encouraged Great Lakes advocates to figure out ways to finance their priority projects, rather than present unfunded projects to the new administration. The teleconference event was part of the Alliance’s ongoing Coastal Allies Network program featuring current events discussions.

Access a lengthy release with further details on the teleconference (
click here). Access more information on the Coastal Allies Network (click here).

SOLEC 2008 Presentations On-Line

Nov 7: The State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) 2008 was held October 22–23, 2008, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada [See WIMS 10/17/08]. Emphasis was on "The Nearshore." In 1996, SOLEC focused on the nearshore lands and waters of the Great Lakes where biological productivity is greatest and where humans have maximum impact. In 2008, the conference concentrated on what has changed with respect to the nearshore environments since 1996.

The conference attracted over 300 attendees in Niagara Falls and several hundred on-line viewers who accessed a live video webcast. Conference slides, speaker's notes and video are available for each plenary presentation. EPA notes that playing the video together with the slides or notes allows a more complete experience.

Access the SOLEC 2008 website for links to available information (click here). Access the Binational SOLEC website for additional information (click here).

Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Water Meetings

Nov 7: The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Resources Regional Body announced that its next meeting will be held on Monday, December 8, 2008 at 1:30 PM CST. The meeting will take place at the Ambassador East Hotel, 1301 N. State Parkway in Chicago. The meeting is open to the public and will include an opportunity for public comments. An agenda is available from the website below. Additional information including materials to be discussed will be available in coming weeks. The Great Lakes Governors and Premiers created the Regional Body on December 13, 2005, by signing the Great Lakes -- St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement.

Additionally, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council will hold its first meeting on Monday, December 8, at 3:00 PM. CST. The meeting will also take place at the Ambassador East Hotel. It will be open to the public and include an opportunity for public comments. An agenda is available on the Council of Great Lakes Governors (CGLG) website.
Additional information including materials to be discussed will be available in coming weeks. The CGLG serves as Secretariat to the Regional Body.

Access information on the Regional Body meeting (
click here). Access the Regional Body website for additional information (click here). Access agendas for both meetings (click here). Access the CGLG website (click here).