Environmental, business, industry, and local leaders urge White House aspirants to address Great Lakes supporters at Ohio gathering.
ANN ARBOR, MICH. (August 29, 2016) – Business, industry, and conservation leaders joined regional mayors today in asking presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to attend the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition’s annual restoration conference, Sept. 20-22, in Sandusky, Ohio, to explain what they will do to protect and restore the Great Lakes—the source of drinking water for more than 40 million people in the United States and Canada.
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition and its partners are asking each candidate or their designee to present their Great Lakes agenda in separate 30-minute forums at the annual gathering of Great Lakes supporters on the shores of Lake Erie.
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, Council of Great Lakes Industries, Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative earlier this year urged White House contenders to support a Great Lakes platform to protect the region’s drinking water, health, economy, and quality of life by funding the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, supporting national water infrastructure, and committing to combat harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie that have poisoned drinking water, threatened public health, and hurt the economy.
Two recent and ongoing drinking water crises have elevated the issue of safe drinking water nationally. In 2014, more than 400,000 residents in and around Toledo, Ohio, were issued a 3-day drinking water advisory because a harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie had made the drinking water unsafe. And residents of Flint, Mich., are grappling with lead poisoning in their water supply due in part to aging pipes and other water infrastructure issues.
Against this backdrop—and following on the heels of the last two presidential administrations, which have made Great Lakes restoration and protection a national priority—the groups are urging Clinton and Trump to lay out what they will do for the Great Lakes.
The groups, which are neither endorsing nor opposing any presidential candidate, said:
Todd Ambs, campaign director, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, 140-member Coalition of environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation organizations, zoos, aquariums and museums representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes.
“The millions of people who depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water, health, jobs, and way of life deserve to hear from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump about what they intend to do to protect and restore this iconic resource.”
Brad Williams, executive director, Detroit Regional Chamber and spokesperson for the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, a coalition of more than 35 chambers of commerce around the region.
“Great Lakes restoration is a catalyst for job creation and economic development. The Great Lakes are the defining asset of a great trading region that, if it were a country, would be the third-largest economy in the world with output in the range of $6 trillion. The businesses and people of our bi-national region depend heavily on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system for their water, their quality of life, and their supply chain relationships. And in turn, so do the United States and Canada.”
Kathryn Buckner, President, Council of Great Lakes Industries, a membership organization of large Canadian and U.S. companies and associations committed to sustainable development in the Great Lakes region.
“Support for the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes and support for the region’s manufacturing and industrial base need to go hand-in-hand. Federal policy and investment that support the sustainable use of the Great Lakes will support a healthy and competitive regional economy.”
David Ullrich, executive director of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a binational coalition of over 120 U.S. and Canadian mayors and local officials working to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
“Thanks to a strong partnership with the federal government, we’re making progress to restore and protect the Great Lakes, but serious threats remain. Presidential leadership will be vital so that we can see the job through to the end.”