Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sens. Levin & Kirk To Co-Chair Senate Great Lakes Task Force

Apr 5: Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) announced that they will serve as the co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force for the 112th Congress. Levin has served as the Democratic co-chair of the task force since 1999. Kirk will take over the Republican co-chair spot, which was held by Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), until his retirement in January. The Task Force is a bipartisan, bicameral group that works to enhance the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes. Members of the task force have worked to pass many key programs supporting the lakes, including the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, invasive species prevention and control, contaminated sediment cleanup, authorizing and funding the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control, and creating a Great Lakes restoration initiative. 

    Sen. Levin said, "I am pleased that Senator Kirk will serve as co-chair of the task force, and I'm excited about our prospects to protect and enhance our Great Lakes. The task force has led the way to passage for legislation to clean up contaminated sediments, fight invasive species and prevent the diversion of precious fresh water from the Great Lakes basin. I look forward to working with Senator Kirk and I am confident that he will help add to that important legacy." Sen. Kirk said, "It is my honor to serve as co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force with Senator Levin. This bipartisan, bicameral Task Force will work to protect our Great Lakes -- the crown jewel of the Midwest's ecosystem. Recently, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and I have worked to crack down on raw sewage dumping into the lakes and my hope is to continue this momentum in the Great Lakes Task Force to develop bipartisan solutions and protect drinking water for 30 million Americans and for generations to come."

    The Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMW), in its mission to aid the states of the northeast and midwest, supports several Senate and Congressional Member Organizations including the House and Senate Great Lakes Task Forces which are bipartisan working groups within the Northeast-Midwest Congressional and Senate Coalitions that cooperate to enhance the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes. Founded in the mid-1980s, the Great Lakes Task Forces work together to advocate for policies and programs that enhance our unique natural resource -- the Great Lakes. Members of the Great Lakes Task Forces work together to build support for key regional programs to enhance environmental quality and economic development throughout the Great Lakes basin. The Task Forces convene member-level and staff-level events, including meetings, hearings, and briefings. They also collaborate to exercise agency oversight, and advance legislative and appropriation initiatives.

    Access a release (click here). Access further information on the Senate Great Lakes Task Force (click here). Access the NEMW Great Lakes Task Forces website for more information and background (click here).