The new Congress and Administration are up and running in Washington, DC. After the election, we knew we would most likely be facing an uphill battle. But after just a short time in office, it is crystal clear that we’ve got a fight on our hands and our clean water is at risk.
During their campaigns, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including President Trump and leaders in the Great Lakes Congressional delegation, pledged support for Great Lakes protection
and clean water. We will hold our region’s lawmakers accountable for their promises. And as both branches of government settle into the work of governing, we are watching closely.
To be clear on where we stand, we’ve created our 2017 Great Lakes Action Agenda. Our agenda outlines federal action priorities for lawmakers to take to protect the lakes.
The priorities fall in to two buckets that reflect our philosophy on how best to care for the lakes:
- We expect lawmakers to keep existing laws and regulations in place and enforced; and
- We urge significant investment in clean water programs.
The Great Lakes Action Agenda calls on Congress and Administration to:
- Invest to Improve Outdated and Failing Drinking and Wastewater Infrastructure
- Ensure Access to Safe, Affordable Drinking Water
- Fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
- Preserve the Clean Water Act & the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Support Existing Invasive Species Regulations
- Prevent Asian Carp from Reaching the Great Lakes
The agenda also alerts federal officials to several important “issues to watch” including:
- Nutrient Pollution Causing Unsafe Drinking Water, Closed Beaches and Dead Zones
- Crude Oil Transportation
- Plastic Pollution
Great Lakes protection is not a partisan issue. For decades, people of all political affiliations from all corners of the region, have consistently shown strong support for protecting the Great Lakes. And, some of the most critical programs and regulations for the lakes have been supported by legislators and administrations from both sides of the aisle.
We all need clean water
No matter how different our backgrounds, Great Lakers value clean water. We know that we cannot attract new businesses to our cities if headlines around the globe continue to bear news of massive toxic algal blooms. Our famous fishing and boating will not attract visitors from near and far if invasive species destroy the lakes’ fishery and threaten safe boating. Our cities and towns will not flourish if they cannot provide safe, clean drinking water to their residents.
Restoring and protecting the Great Lakes is inextricably linked to regional economic growth. It is impossible to fulfill campaign commitments to growing jobs, improving quality of life in our cities, and developing the economic strength of the Midwest without taking steps to protect the Great Lakes.
Our Great Lakes Action Agenda outlines concrete actions that Congress can take to ensure the lakes are protected and safe for everyone. We will be fighting across the Great Lakes region and in Washington to hold our region’s lawmakers accountable to this agenda, and we hope you’ll join us in making your voice heard too.