Top Regional Leaders to Make Case in Chicago for Economic Benefits of Great Lakes Restoration

Chicago (August 20) – A new report by top national economists quantifying the regional economic benefit of restoring the Great Lakes ecosystem will highlight the 3rd Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Chicago, Sept. 6-8.

“The conference is intended to light a fire under Congress, the President and presidential candidates to restore the Great Lakes because the problems only get worse and more expensive the longer we wait,” said Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association and co-chairman of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “The conference will make clear that industry, business and conservation groups agree: The Great Lakes are vital to the region, and it is time to act so that we can protect our lakes, our National Parks, our economy, our drinking water and our way of life.”

The intensified effort to restore the Great Lakes comes as congressional leaders such as Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Reps. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) — all of whom have been invited to speak at the event — are calling for significant Great Lakes protections.

“The conference comes at a critical time for the Great Lakes and the millions of people who rely on them for their jobs, their health and their way of life,” said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the Great Lakes office of the National Wildlife Federation and co-chairman of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “The threat is urgent. The solutions are clear. We intend for the conference to inspire those holding office—and seeking office—to commit themselves to restoring the Great Lakes.”

The conference will also feature some of the region’s top scientists to reveal the state of the Lakes’ health. Policy staff from the major 2008 presidential campaigns have been invited to talk about their candidates’ environmental and Great Lakes platforms.

“Every day, new news about a new threat to the Great Lakes is hitting the headlines,” said Cameron Davis, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes and incoming co-chairman of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “People from around the region will be gathering to keep the momentum going in reversing this tide of threats so we can leave the Great Lakes better than the way we found them.”

Conference info. is online at

For Immediate Release Contact:
Cameron Davis, Alliance 312-939-0838 x222,
Jordan Lubetkin, NWF 734-904-1589;
Andrea Keller, NPCA 202-454-3332,

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