TAFT JOINS GREAT LAKES LEADERS TO SIGN HISTORIC AGREEMENTS
TO PROTECT GREAT LAKES
Governors, premiers make pact to save lakesÂ
CHICAGO (December 12, 2005) â€“ Governor Bob Taft today joined officials from throughout the Great Lakes region to release a Great Lakes restoration strategy, developed by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration.Â Governor Taft joined the other Great Lakes Governors and Premiers in signing agreements created to update the way the waters of the Great Lakes basin are managed and protected.Â
â€œThe waters of the Great Lakes are a shared treasure,â€ said Taft, co-chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors. â€œThe Great Lakes Charter Annex and the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration represent the coming together of leaders in the basin to protect the waters for the people of the Great Lakes and the two countries who share the lakesâ€™ resources.â€
The signing of the agreement is the first of two interrelated Great Lakes at the core of Taftâ€™s commitment to the Great Lakes which will reach milestones this week.Â In Milwaukee on Tuesday, the Governor will implement the first priority of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration: to improve the water management of the region.
In June 2001, the Great Lakes Governors and Premiers adopted Annex 2001, a historic addition to the Great Lakes Charter dealing with water consumption and diversion.Â Recognizing this significant agreement, the Great Lakes Governors made sustainable use of water resources their first priority when they released nine priorities for Great Lakes restoration in October 2003.
The eight remaining priorities put forth by the Governors were used as the structure of the restoration strategy developed by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration. The plan was released in Chicago today by the Governors, Mayors, Tribes, and federal agencies, in consultation with the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force.
Approximately 1,500 people representing federal, state and local governments; tribes; and environmental, business and agricultural organizations cooperatively developed the plan, working in eight strategy teams reflecting the Governorsâ€™ priorities.Â
â€œIt is crucial that the federal government continue to provide sufficient funding in support of our efforts.Â This is the first time that all constituencies have come together to develop a comprehensive plan for the Great Lakes,â€ said Taft.Â â€œThis broad participation allows us to use this plan as a guiding document and move forward with tangible actions to protect and restore our regionâ€™s most valuable natural resource.â€Â Taft said that the Collaboration partners will continue to work together to implement the plan.Â
On Tuesday, the Great Lakes Governors and Premiers will sign agreements implementing Annex 2001.Â The next step will be the development and passage of legislation in each state and province as well as Congressional approval of the interstate compact that results from this process.
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Media Contact:Â Mark Rickel, Governorâ€™s Press Secretary, at (614) 644-0957.