$50 Billion in Economic Benefit Hinge on Restoration of Great Lakes

Cost to restore and protect the Great Lakes: $26 Billion.

Cost of creating sustainable economic growth and reviving the industrial heartland of America: Priceless.

It has been called the Rust Belt since the early ‘70s when the once thriving Great Lakes region – a producer of steel, metal and automobiles that attracted workers from around the world – fell victim to globalization and then the information economy. Factories and mills closed and crestfallen populations of workers migrated away in search of jobs. But leading economists are releasing a report today showing that investing in the Great Lakes Collaboration Strategy (GLCS) has potential to economically revitalize the struggling region.

Each year, Rust Belt states average less than 2 percent of new growth, according to the 2004 Census. Yet, Great Lakes states are home to one-third of the nation’s population and produce one-third of the gross state product. Developing America’s North Coast: A Benefit Cost Analysis of a Great Lakes Infrastructure Program, promises that fulfilling the $26 billion investment (over the next five years) to implement the GLCS would actually produce $50 billion in long term economic benefits – not only paying for itself, but creating a net gain of at least $24 billion. In fact, there is potential for a new growth industry founded on freshwater innovation for heating, cooling, sanitation and food – an emerging magnet for skilled workers. Is there a financial advisor anywhere that would question such an investment?

The Brookings Institute report is being released today to kick off the third annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Chicago, Ill.

The conference, and new economics report, come at a significant time as legislation to implement the restoration strategy has been introduced in Congress and is awaiting action.

Read the report, “Healthy Waters, Strong Economy: The Benefits of Restoring the Great Lakes Ecosystem.”

“Healthy Waters, Strong Economy” summarizes the major findings of a more in-depth study of the benefits and costs of the GLRC Strategy by the same authors, “America’s North Coast: A Benefit-Cost Analysis of a Program to Protect and Restore the Great Lakes,” which is being released on the same day.

Use these links to learn more:

We’d love for you to download the study yourself and share the findings with others.Are you a blogger looking for something to write about? Oct. 15 is Blog Action Day, when bloggers are encouraged to post about environmental issues. This is an excellent chance for you to share your thoughts on this study and why you care about benefiting the Great Lakes and the region’s economic situation.

If you mention the study on your blog, we’ll post a link to your site and list you in our Study Blogroll. You can also set a trackback to this link for your post to be inserted as a comment to this page.

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