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GLIN==> Elected, Civic Leaders Announce Great Lakes "Restoration" Initiative

Submitted by Susan Campbell [scampbell@lakemichigan.org]
Apologies for cross postings

Elected, Civic Leaders Announce Great Lakes "Restoration" Initiative
Congressional and civic leaders today announced a new push for a massive Great Lakes restoration package in the U.S. Congress, starting with the introduction of two bills. The legislative announcement comes on the same day that the oldest citizens' Great Lakes organization in North America is changing its name to help advance the legislation.

The need for comprehensive Great Lakes rehabilitation is as strong as the lineup of legislators supporting restoration.

The Great Lakes Environmental Restoration Act of 2005 (S. 508) has been introduced by U.S. Sens. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich). Companion legislation has been introduced in the House (H.R. 792), by U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) of Chicago. The two bills would provide billions of dollars in block grants to states. Legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.) would provide funding for key programs. All would reduce sewage overflows and protect beaches, protect the health of fisheries that are a staple of the Midwest's outdoor heritage, recover coastal wetlands and other forms of habitat, and include other restoration work.

In a related effort, the 35-year-old Lake Michigan Federation today announced it is changing its name to the Alliance for the Great Lakes to help advance the Great Lakes restoration effort.

"At a time when the Great Lakes need so much care, we want to step up and help lead the effort," said Dale S. Bryson, president of the board of directors of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, formerly the Lake Michigan Federation. "If water is the lifeblood of our region, then the Great Lakes are the heart. We want to make sure we're doing our best to protect the whole heart, not just one of the chambers."

Elected officials close to the restoration effort applauded the move. "I congratulate the Lake Michigan Federation on their evolution into the Alliance for the Great Lakes and look forward to working with the expanded group on Great Lakes restoration legislation," said Emanuel. "While their name may have changed their commitment for the long term solvency of the great lakes has never wavered."

Formed in 1970, the Alliance for the Great Lakes (formerly the Lake Michigan Federation) is the oldest independent citizens' Great Lakes organization in North America. Its mission is to conserve and restore the world's largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife. More about the Alliance for the Great Lakes is online at www.greatlakes.org.

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