Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition: ‘Every person deserves the right to clean, reliable, and affordable water—and that goes hand-in-hand with supporting a livable wage for workers.’
We are postponing the Great Lakes conference. It will not take place in Detroit next week on Oct. 17-18. As mentioned in an earlier update, the hotel workers are on strike and the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition has decided not to host the conference next week. We are re-scheduling it for some time in the spring of 2019.
Here’s what you have to do:
- Cancel your hotel room now. To get a full refund of your room, you need to cancel your reservation with the Westin Book Cadillac 48 hours prior to your planned arrival. For many people, that means by Monday, October 15. You are responsible for cancelling your room. Call the hotel directly at (313) 442-1600. Let us know you cancelled your room by adding your name to this list.
- Keep your conference registration. The good news is, we are going to do a conference in Detroit in the spring! As soon as we have the dates for the new conference, we will let you know and confirm if you are still able to attend. For those who are unable to come to the new conference, we will provide refunds. For those who were not already registered for the October Conference, registration will reopen and new folks can register. We will send out that information in the next few weeks.
- Contact your airlines. Refund policies vary, we encourage you to reach out to your airline as soon as possible to try to get a refund.
- Attend the Great Lakes Funder collaborative reception (if you’re in Detroit Tuesday night). If registered for the joint reception with the Great Lakes Funder Collaborative at the Gem Theater in Detroit, that event is still happening. The event is on Tuesday, October 16th, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and required prior registration. Please note: The Coalition will NOT be providing transportation between the event and the Westin Book Cadillac hotel. If you are unable to attend this event, please contact Diane Schrauth email@example.com.
- Tell your colleagues about the change. We want to ensure that every conference attendee knows about this news and makes the necessary arrangements. If there are friends, co-workers, or colleagues who you know are attending, please help spread the word.
- If you are a speaker at the conference – the organizer of your session will be receiving a message as well very soon, please check in with them first if you have questions regarding your conference presentation, workshop, or session.
- Check the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition website for more information. We’ll be posting a Frequently Asked Questions document and provide updates as needed. Visit: healthylakes.org
What we’re doing:
For those of you attending the Great Lakes Conference in Detroit, Michigan next week:
As you may have heard, there is a national strike underway by hotel workers, including those at the Westin Book Cadillac—where we are hosting the Great Lakes Conference Oct. 17-18.
Please see below for an update of the situation; what we’re doing about it; and what it means for the conference moving forward.
Hotel workers are currently on strike. Negotiations are underway. We don’t know how long it will last. Based on the best information we have, we are assuming that it will last for the foreseeable future.
What we’re doing about it:
Our goals are to host a wonderful conference, to respect the dignity of workers asking for a living wage, and not put our attendees in a situation where they have to decide whether to cross a picket line. We are working diligently on options to move the conference. Supporting the workers is important because the Coalition and its members support water affordability—a policy that goes hand-in-hand with the need for people to have the dignity of a livable wage.
When you can expect more information:
We will make a final decision about the conference venue, accommodations, and any needed changes by tomorrow, Friday, at 5 p.m. Eastern. At that time, we will be in contact with every conference attendee, sponsor, vendor and funder to let them know what we are doing.
What you have to do now:
Nothing. We will be assessing options over the next 24 hours and let you know the outcome Friday. If you want to connect with Coalition staff in the meantime, please contact Celia Haven at HavenC@nwf.org.
We will be in touch soon. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
The Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition Team
ANN ARBOR, MICH. (September 24, 2018) – Federal Great Lakes restoration investments are creating jobs, increasing tourism, boosting home values, and attracting and retaining young workers in communities around the region as part of a more than 3-to-1 return on investment, according to a new report released today by economists from University of Michigan, Central Michigan University, and Duke University.
Todd Ambs, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“It’s clear that federal investments to restore the Great Lakes are paying off for people and communities across the region. The results we’re seeing are exciting, inspiring, and powerful. We hope that the success we’ve seen to date is a catalyst for continued federal investment in a resource that more than 30 million people depend on for drinking water, because serious threats still remain. And our work is not done until every resident in the region has access to clean, affordable drinking water; fish that are non-toxic; and beaches free of contamination. We look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress to continue funding Great Lakes programs to protect our Great Lakes, drinking water, economy, and way of life.”
Read the report here.
Washington Watch: House Interior Bill Funds Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Frustrates Administration
The U.S. House finished debate on its Interior and Environment funding bill for the next fiscal year on Thursday. The bill contains funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, water infrastructure and other restoration programs at the following levels:
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: $300 million (same as FY18; $270 million higher than President’s request)
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $1.543 billion ($150 million more than President’s request)
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $1.013 billion ($150 million more than President’s request)
- Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study: $200,000 (same as President’s request)
- Electric Barrier: $18.920 million (same as President’s request)
The House bill rejects much of the President’s budget request, opting instead to maintain funding for important Great Lakes programs. The Trump Administration complained to the U.S. House of Representatives that the chamber’s Interior-EPA funding bill supports investments in Great Lakes restoration efforts—and those of other water habitat programs in areas such as the Chesapeake Bay—and rejects cuts proposed by the White House.
Todd Ambs, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said:
“What Great Lake is completely contained within one state? As any school child from the upper Midwest knows, the answer of course is none. I continue to be perplexed by this Administration’s continued insistence that funding for critical work to protect and restore the most significant freshwater resource on the planet should only be handled by ‘state and local entities,’ especially when the lakes are binational and cross many state and Tribal jurisdictional lines. States and local entities are and must remain integral partners in this work but they will never have the resources, nor the legal authority, to address the myriad regional, federal and international issues that impact the Great Lakes.
Fortunately, there continues to be broad support in Congress from Republicans and Democrats who understand that Great Lakes restoration programs are producing results for the environment and economy—and that these programs are essential for the more than 30 million people who depend on the lakes for their drinking water, jobs, and way of life. We will continue to work with bipartisan leaders in Congress to support the funding and policy solutions needed to address the serious threats to the Great Lakes and communities across the region, so that we can keep federal restoration efforts on track. Cutting funding now will only make projects harder and more expensive.”