Great Lakes leaders urge presidential candidates to address environmental issues facing the region

Today Great Lakes governors released a Great Lakes 2020 platform in advance of the Democratic presidential debates scheduled for July 30 and 31 in Detroit. The platform shows that Great Lakes restoration investments are demonstrating results, but serious threats to public health and water quality remain, including underfunded water infrastructure, invasive species, runoff pollution and PFAS contamination.

Leaders of Midwestern environmental councils -- representing hundreds of nonprofit environmental, health, and conservation groups -- urged candidates to outline how they would address these environmental issues facing the region, and issued the following statements.

“We owe it to future generations to clean up the pollution that’s been left behind and prevent any further contamination,” said Michigan Environmental Council President and CEO Conan Smith. “We know what needs to be done to address these problems, and we thank Governor Whitmer and her fellow Great Lakes Governors for raising these issues to the national level. What we need now is significant federal investment in water infrastructure and strong nationwide standards for clearly identified public health threats.”

 “Illinois Environmental Council is grateful for Governor Pritzker’s leadership on protecting the Great Lakes and the communities who rely on them,” said Illinois Environmental Council Executive Director Jen Walling. “This regional collaboration promises to secure the innovative solutions, resources and partnerships needed to move these critical priorities forward.”  

"Protecting and restoring Lake Superior, the headwaters of the whole Great Lakes system, is a responsibility Minnesotans take seriously," said Minnesota Environmental Partnership Executive Director Steve Morse. "The Minnesota environmental community welcomes the strong support from Governor Walz and the other Great Lakes governors."

"The Pennsylvania Environmental Council commends the Governors of the Great Lakes states on the Great Lakes 2020 platform," said John Walliser, Pennsylvania Environmental Council Senior Vice President for Legal & Government Affairs. "Our freshwater resources define our states’ identity and vitality; the challenges we face today to restore and protect that resource require a strengthening of the partnership and commitment that led to establishment of the Great Lakes Compact a decade ago. The 2020 platform provides a critical framework to help ensure that the Great Lakes -- a truly globally significant resource -- are preserved."


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