Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HOW Coalition Meets With White House Officials

Feb 29: Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes (HOW) Coalition members announced they will be meeting today with senior White House and Obama Administration officials at a Great Lakes summit to discuss the accomplishments and priorities of the current administration. The HOW Coalition consists of more than 120 environmental, conservation and outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes.
    The gathering followings a meeting Monday between coalition leaders and Obama Administration officials in the West Wing of the White House, at which time Great Lakes advocates put forward an agenda to: Maintain momentum for restoring the lakes by continuing to fund restoration programs through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; boosting Federal assistance to help communities combat sewage overflows; enacting strong protections against ballast water invaders; confronting the algae bloom epidemic in Lake Erie; and moving more aggressively to separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River to prevent the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species between the two bodies of water.

    Jeff Skelding, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition said, "We look forward to meeting with Obama Administration officials to discuss how we can work together to support Great Lakes restoration projects that benefit the environment and economy. Restoration efforts are producing results, but there is more to do. Continued leadership by President Obama and the U.S. Congress will be essential to restore our lakes, protect our drinking water, create jobs and uphold our way of life." The gathering, sponsored by the White House Council on Environmental Quality's Office of Public Engagement, comes as coalition members from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin conclude two days of meetings with U.S. congressional offices as part of Great Lakes Days.

    The HOW Coalition views 2012 as a pivotal year in the effort to restore the Great Lakes, as the fate of key water issues hinge on actions by the Obama Administration and U.S. Congress. Among them: Funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other clean water programs; Reauthorizing the Farm Bill, the largest funding source for federal conservation programs; Finalizing EPA guidelines dealing with clean water protections and Coast Guard and EPA rules addressing polluted ballast water discharges; and, Acting to prevent the advance of Asian carp, which are on the doorstep to the Lakes.

   Access a release from HOW with more details (click here). Access the HOW website for more information (click here).

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