Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Cuyahoga County Planning Commission
 
 

Home

Great Lakes News Archive

President Obama's 2013 federal budget request proposes funding levels for federal initiatives, including transportation programs, environmental protections, and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. For the Great Lakes basin, it contains $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, $110 million for sewage system improvements, and $31 million for dredging. It also would provide $658 million for NASA's Glenn Research Center.

Update: Great Lakes Echo has more details.

Congress approved $300 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in 2012. It also authorized $533 million in low-interest loans for Great Lakes states to address combined sewer overflows. The National Wildlife Federation called it "a significant victory for fish, wildlife and the Great Lakes," while an editorial in Toledo's Blade said "it's not enough, even in a period of fiscal austerity."

Update: a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial adds that it "sounds like a substantial sum, but it's not enough, even in a period of fiscal austerity."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $3.7 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants, including a $73,040 award to the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to restore forests damaged by the invasive emerald ash borer.

Under pressure by officials from inside and outside Ohio, Governor Kasich vetoed the Great Lakes Compact implementation bill passed by the General Assembly. In a statement (PDF), he said that portions of the bill "must be improved." It was his first veto as governor. Editorials in the Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal supported his decision, while Tom Henry found the entire episode embarrassing. The bill's sponsors said they would seek to override the veto.

Update: participants on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the legislation.

Update 2: Brent Larkin said that "although Kasich's veto will not be overridden, this isn't the end of it."

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, looks at state implementation of the Great Lakes Compact. It focuses on three areas: water diversions, conservation and efficiency, and water withdrawal permitting. The Plain Dealer again urges Governor Kasich to veto the Ohio bill.

Update: the Detroit News, Morning Journal, and Kristy Meyer of the Ohio Environmental Council also call for a veto. New York officials dislike the bill, too.

By a vote of 25-8, the Ohio Senate passed a Great Lakes Compact implementation bill. The Ohio House approved the legislation last week. Its protections are the weakest of any Great Lakes state.

Update: editorials in the Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal editorial encourage Governor Kasich to veto the bill. The Ohio Environmental Council and Andy Buchsbaum of the National Wildlife Federation are also critical of the bill. Governor Kasich is expected to sign the bill in the next two weeks.

Update 2: Great Lakes Echo analyzed the situation, while a Detroit Free Press editorial objects to the bill and a Plain Dealer editorial says it could lead to an increase in toxic blue-green algae.

A new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists identified Ohio as one of ten states likely to see significant increases in respiratory problems from rising ozone levels associated with global warming. Meanwhile, Jeff Opperman of the Nature Conservancy expanded upon his earlier premise that ranked Cleveland as the city least vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Rust Wire's Kate Giammarise interviewed Al Douglas of the Ontario Centre for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Resources about its effects on the Great Lakes.

In a party-line vote, the Ohio House passed the Republican-backed Great Lakes Compact implementation bill. The Ohio Senate is now considering the legislation, and former Governor Bob Taft testified against it in a committee hearing.

Update: George Voinovich and Sam Speck also oppose the bill. Editorials in the Plain Dealer, Blade, Akron Beacon Journal, Repository, Dayton Daily News, and Morning Journal urge Ohio senators to vote no.

Democratic lawmakers introduced alternative bills for implementing the Great Lakes Compact in Ohio. The legislation sets lower limits on the amount of water that can be extracted from Lake Erie than the bills introduced last month by Republican legislators. Environmental groups support the lower limits and business groups back the higher limits (PDF). An editorial in Toledo's Blade says that the Republican-backed bills "would threaten surface and ground water affecting Lake Erie."

Meanwhile, an Akron Beacon Journal editorial calls for bipartisan congressional support of full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Update: the Blade published more information about the fast-tracked Republican bill. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial encourages a bipartisan approach.

Environmental advocates in other Great Lakes states are worried about the proposed Lake Erie water withdrawal limits recently introduced in the Ohio General Assembly. The proposed limits provide less protection than those established by other states.

Update: the proposal is also receiving criticism within Ohio.

Update 2: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the legislation "fails to meet the compact's spirit and letter," and Gary Wilson of the Biodiversity Project cites it as an example of the region's failure to protect the Great Lakes.

Update 3: a Plain Dealer editorial strongly opposes the bills.

Two Republican lawmakers introduced legislation that would implement the Great Lakes Compact in Ohio. The enabling legislation includes limits on water withdrawals from Lake Erie. Industry groups support the bill, but environmental advocates say that it provides insufficient protection.

The fiscal year 2011 federal budget compromise includes $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Update: Great Lakes advocates said that the agreement represents a significant achievement.

The International Joint Commission issued its 15th Biennial Report (PDFs: full document, executive summary). It features 32 recommendations for federal, state, provincial, and local governments in the United States and Canada, and urges the two nations to approve a revised Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Among the issues it highlights are increased eutrophication caused by excessive nutrient levels and water quality problems at recreational beaches.

President Obama's proposed 2012 budget could have a number of local impacts.

Funding for many urban development, environmental, and historic preservation programs would also be reduced.

Update: Great Lakes advocates are urging Congress to restore funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Great Lakes congressional delegation "must join together, in a bipartisan manner, to preserve" the program.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew wrote that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will be among the federal programs targeted for funding cuts in President Obama's proposed 2012 budget. Congress has not yet approved the 2011 budget, and could make further reductions in spending. Great Lakes advocates continue to support the initiative.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that it's "an example of how misguided the budget debate has become", while Tom Henry said that "if the lakes are to ever reach their potential, there's got to be more than just money."

The Ohio Great Lakes Compact Advisory Board issued its final report (PDF, 9.8 MB) on Wednesday. The Ohio General Assembly is expected to consider the report's recommendations in 2011. The Ohio Environmental Council called it (PDF) "a critical first step toward preserving one of Ohio's greatest natural resources."

Other cities have lessons for Northeast Ohio:

Update: the Detroit Free Press reported on the trip to Leipzig and Manchester.

An editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal chides the Ohio Senate for failing to pass foreclosure prevention legislation, and a second editorial urges Congress to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Editorials in the Akron Beacon Journal, the Plain Dealer, and the Blade urge Congress to fully fund Great Lakes cleanup efforts through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and to pass the Great Lakes Legacy Act. Many of the Great Lakes' congressional advocates will be leaving office in January.

Update: Michael Scott of the Plain Dealer says that the GLRI "is in serious danger of being trimmed after only one year."

The Ohio Great Lakes Compact Advisory Board published its draft recommendations for implementing (PDF, 17.3 MB) the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will hold an open house at the Bay Village Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library on November 19, and will submit the final recommendations by December 15. The Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club has issues with the recommendations.

The U.S. EPA awarded the first competitive grants under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The awards include a $1 million grant to the Ohio EPA for Cuyahoga River cleanup efforts. Next year's funding level for the program remains in question.

The German Marshall Fund's Cities in Transition Initiative is "a three-year project designed to build a sustained network of leading policymakers and practitioners" in Cleveland, Detroit, Flint, Pittsburgh, and Youngstown. Greater Ohio is participating in the project, which will be launched in October at a one-day meeting in Detroit.

Turning the Tide (PDF), a new report from the Healing Our Waters Campaign, says that between January 2009 and January 2010, combined sewer overflows in Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Gary, and Milwaukee discharged 41 billion gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater into the Great Lakes. The report recommends upgrading sewer systems and increasing implementation of green infrastructure techniques, and calls on Congress to fund the improvements.

On Monday, the White House released the final recommendations (PDF) of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, and President Obama signed an executive order that established the country's first national oceans policy and created the National Ocean Council. The council includes representatives from a variety of federal agencies, and is intended to strengthen governance and coordination for the stewardship of the oceans, coasts, and the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes Urban Exchange recently held its third annual conference in Cleveland. More than 80 young leaders from across the region attended to compare notes, network, discuss new ideas, and explore Cleveland. This year's conference focused on rethinking what cities can be. Conference participants shared their reactions, summarized sessions, described site visits, and posted photographs.

Update: Cool Cleveland's Sarah Valek also posted a review.

Update 2: Lorri Meyers of Channelise added her experiences.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative recently launched the Green Cities Transforming Towards Sustainability program. It "showcases the actions of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence cities in moving the entire region towards a sustainable future." Cleveland is not a member of the binational coalition of mayors and other local officials.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Heath is scheduled to take up a package of environmental restoration bills that includes the Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act of 2010.

Update: the committee approved the bill.

The U.S. EPA announced the finalists for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant funding. The EPA is expected to spread $161 million across 270 projects, including $17.2 million for 28 projects in Ohio. The Cuyahoga County Engineer's Office received two $1.5 million grants for Cuyahoga River habitat restoration.

Update: Jane Goodman described the Cleveland-area projects.

A new policy brief from the Brookings Institution says that the Great Lakes region has the potential to become a hub for the advanced energy industry. It recommends that the federal government should "launch a distributed network of federally funded, commercialization-oriented, sustainable energy research and innovation centers" in the region. Meanwhile, John Austin of Brookings says that his earlier work on the Great Lakes Economic Initiative remains relevant.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls it "an idea that merits serious consideration by Congress and the Obama administration."

In the second episode of the Metro Matters podcast, Diana Lind of Next American City interviewed Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution. Much of their conversation was about steps that Ohio and the Great Lakes region can take to succeed economically.

Legislators from Great Lakes states introduced identical bipartisan bills in the U.S. House and Senate to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The legislation would restore 2011 funding to the 2010 level of $475 million, instead of the Obama administration's proposed $300 million. Great Lakes advocates are pleased.

The U.S. EPA unveiled an action plan for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It's the final version of a document that was released in December. It describes how federal agencies intend to implement the GLRI from 2010 through 2014, and identifies goals and actions that will be taken in five major focus areas. A New York Times editorial concluded that "the lakes' restoration will depend on strong and sustained political leadership."

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that "the priorities established in the proposal ring true."

The U.S. EPA issued a request for proposals through the $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The competitive grant process will "provide funding to address the most significant Great Lakes ecosystem problems". Projects must be submitted by January 29.

Michael Scott of the Plain Dealer asks if the recommendations of the federal Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force will be good for the Great Lakes. An interim report it issued in September suggested the formation of a National Ocean Council.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission is compiling a list of projects (PDF) for potential funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It includes funding for the removal of two dams on the Cuyahoga River.

John Austin of the Brookings Institution thinks that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will be "a major shot in the arm" for the region's metropolitan areas. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "great news for the Great Lakes".

On Friday, President Obama quietly signed the appropriations bill that included $475 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and $4 million for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Update: officials with the Trust for Public Land believe it will take several years to complete the Blossom land purchase.

As anticipated, Congress approved $475 million in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Members of President Obama's Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force discussed the program on Thursday when they held their sixth and final regional public meeting in Cleveland. Joe Koncelik fears that the initiative's local match requirement could create problems.

Update: WKSU also reported on the meeting.

While a Congressional conference committee recommended funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at the full $475 million level, environmental advocates say that the lakes need additional protections. Others identify a need for a national policy on oceans and waterways. The public will have an opportunity to provide input at the regional Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force meeting (PDF) in Cleveland on Thursday.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges Congress to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at the full $475 million level approved by the House instead of the $400 million authorized by the Senate.

GreenCityBlueLake and Rust Wire summarized aspects of this week's German Marshall Fund workshop.

An evaluation by the U.S. EPA's Office of Inspector General estimates that at the current rate of progress, it will take more than 77 years to complete the cleanup of the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The complete document and a summary (PDFs) are available online.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is no longer pursuing a proposed Lake Erie ferry from North Coast Harbor to Port Stanley, Ontario, at least partly due to issues on the Canadian side. However, planning continues for the initiation of ferry service between Lake County and Port Burwell, Ontario. Port Authority officials instead want to proceed with modifications to the Port of Cleveland and the development of cargo container shipping. The Port Authority will apply for federal stimulus funds to establish a containerized shipping line between Cleveland and Montreal.

On September 14 and 15, the German Marshall Fund will host a Great Lakes Regionalism & Economic Development Workshop at CSU's Levin College of Urban Affairs. Attendees will "examine the concept of regionalism, how regional identities are fostered, and how regional strategies can help promote economic development."

(via GLUE)

A New York Times editorial describes the proposed Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as an important start and "a small down payment on a project that could ultimately cost $20 billion."

Last week, National Wildlife Federation President Larry Schweiger spoke at the Akron Roundtable about the consequences of global warming, and noted that its impacts are being felt around the world and in Ohio. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that "the challenge now involves the country and the international community acting quickly enough to avoid far more drastic consequences." Today, the National Wildlife Federation released a report titled More Extreme Heat Waves: Global Warming's Wake Up Call. It details the predicted human health impacts of global warming-induced heat waves.

Meanwhile, some climate scientists attribute shifts in Ohio rainfall patterns to climate change. Northeast Ohio has experienced an increase in the number of days per year with heavy storms. A report released by the the Union of Concerned Scientists last month presented scenarios about the future impacts of climate change in the Midwest.

At Good, Anne Trubek of Oberlin College contemplates growth in the Rust Belt and the emerging ideas for "neighborhoods that no longer need to fulfill their original purposes."

Great Lakes Echo reports that funding from the proposed Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will not be available to address combined sewer overflows or for other sewer system upgrades.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that "the Great Lakes require sustained attention and development" and that the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative needs to provide long-term financial support for their recovery.

The largest portion of the proposed $400–$475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would be targeted for environmental cleanup of the lakes and the 30 remaining areas of concern in the United States. The Brookings Institution continues to support the investment, saying that multiplier effects will at least double its impacts.

About 150 people attended the U.S. EPA's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative stakeholder meeting in Cuyahoga Heights on Monday evening. Agency officials heard feedback about the proposed $475 million restoration program. The EPA is also gathering suggestions online.

Update: Michael Scott of the Plain Dealer summarized the recurring themes of the meeting.

A Morning Journal editorial encourages public participation in the Great Lakes restoration meeting on July 27 at the Cleveland Metroparks CanalWay Center in Cuyahoga Heights. The U.S. EPA recently issued an outline of its restoration plan (PDF).

The U.S. EPA and Environment Canada jointly produced the State of the Great Lakes 2009 highlights report. It said that the status of the ecosystem is mixed, and that "trends of Great Lakes ecosystem conditions varied: some conditions were improving and some were deteriorating." Meanwhile, the U.S. EPA will hold a series of public meetings across the region to discuss the proposed $475 million Great Lakes restoration program. The Ohio meeting will be held on July 27 at the Cleveland Metroparks CanalWay Center.

Update: Sam Speck of the International Joint Commission spoke about the future of the Great Lakes at an Akron Roundtable luncheon.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon announced that the two countries will update the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The 1972 agreement was last amended in 1987.

The fifth Lake Erie: Beyond the Surface special on Channel 3 looked at the ecosystems of Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes.

President Obama appointed Cameron Davis as the nation's first Great Lakes czar. Davis, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, will report to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. His official title is senior adviser on the Great Lakes.

Sean Logan of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Jeff Skelding of the Healing Our Waters Great Lakes Coalition were the guests on Monday's Sound of Ideas program, where they discussed President Obama's proposal to supply $475 million for Great Lakes restoration efforts. Allegra Cangelosi of the Northeast-Midwest Institute writes that the "Great Lakes Region is ready, willing, and able to turn those dollars into visible improvements".

While President Obama's budget document revealed few details about his plans to invest $475 million in Great Lakes restoration efforts, U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson shared some information about the proposal.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details about the plans.

Details of President Obama's plans to spend $475 million on Great Lakes restoration activities may be revealed this week. A Plain Dealer editorial says the proposal "offers a welcome lift" for the lakes. Meanwhile, Senators Levin, Voinovich, and six other co-sponsors introduced the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2009, which would increase funding for the cleanup of contaminated sediment to $150 million per year. The House of Representatives recently passed similar legislation.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial urges Congress to adopt President Obama's proposal to invest $475 million in a Great Lakes restoration initiative, saying that "lawmakers on the budget and appropriation committees must ensure the money finds a secure place in the federal spending plan."

Budget committees in the U.S. House and Senate included President Obama's proposal for a $475 million Great Lakes restoration fund in their budget resolutions. An editorial in the Blade says that "protecting and restoring the Great Lakes is not a luxury but a critical necessity," and in a Detroit Free Press op-ed, Rich Bowman of the Nature Conservancy suggests investments in natural systems.

The water quality improvement bill passed by the U.S. House last week includes an increase of funding for the Great Lakes Legacy Act, raising the authorization from $54 million to $150 million per year over the next five years.

The Ohio Great Lakes Compact Advisory Board held its first meeting last Thursday. The 28-member board is scheduled to make recommendations to the governor and general assembly by June 2010.

President Obama's proposed 2010 budget for the U.S. EPA includes $475 million for a new multi-agency Great Lakes restoration initiative.

A group of American and Canadian environmental organizations is urging President Obama and Prime Minister Harper to rewrite the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, which was last updated in 1987.

Senators Voinovich and Levin yesterday introduced the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act, a $20 billion plan for restoring the Great Lakes. President-elect Obama supported a smaller $5 billion plan as a candidate. Similar implementation acts were introduced in 2006 and 2007.

The final version of a controversial report by the Centers for Disease Control concluded that there is insufficient data to link health risks to pollution in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The report recommends further study.

(via Green Buckeye RN)

This week, the American Wind Energy Association held its national Supply Chain Workshop in Cleveland, and Case Western Reserve University will hold a conference on offshore wind turbine development. The Plain Dealer published an overview of the plans for a Lake Erie wind farm three miles north of Cleveland, WKSU examined the wind turbine industry in Northeast Ohio, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looked at offshore turbine proposals from across the region.

Update: Governor Strickland addressed the workshop on Tuesday.

The Great Lakes Compact took effect yesterday, and the new Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council held its first meeting (PDF) in Chicago.

Despite the adoption of the Great Lakes Compact, the Great Lakes are facing many challenges. The Christian Science Monitor reports on "the cocktail of assaults" that includes invasive species, falling water levels, rising temperatures, and water quality issues.

The Great Lakes Region Coalition, a group of over 30 Midwest chambers of commerce, released a business agenda that outlines their federal legislative priorities for growing the region's economy. The initiative is an outgrowth the Brookings Institution's work on the Great Lakes Economic Initiative.

Update: Joe Roman describes the agenda in a Plain Dealer op-ed.

The Blade's Tom Henry says that Bush administration and federal EPA officials "lobbied against our best interests by calling upon both chambers of Congress to reject the House version of a bill that would have reauthorized the Great Lakes Legacy Act at up to $150 million a year."

(via Great Lakes Law)

Update: President Bush signed the reauthorizing legislation.

President Bush signed the Great Lakes Compact today. The Compact now moves into its implementation phase.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a two-year reauthorization of the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The Senate bill was at the current funding level of $54 million per year, not the $150 million per year approved by the House earlier this month. The House adopted the Senate version of the bill on Sunday.

Editorials in the Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal, and News-Herald praise Congress for passing the Great Lakes Compact.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact today by a vote of 390-25. Representatives Kucinich and Kaptur were among those voting against it. The Senate approved the Compact in August, and President Bush has indicated that he will sign it.

By a vote of 371-20, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The reauthorization bill now moves to the Senate. If enacted, it will triple the annual funding for cleanup of contaminated sediment in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern.

Great Lakes issues have entered the U.S. presidential race. Last week, Great Lakes advocates urged both candidates to increase their support for Great Lakes restoration efforts, and yesterday, the Obama-Biden campaign introduced a five-point plan for improving the Great Lakes. It includes $5 billion over ten years for a fund dedicated to Great Lakes work.

A review by the Institute of Medicine upheld the official findings of a controversial study by the Centers for Disease Control about health risks in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The Institute of Medicine noted that shortcomings in the draft reports limit its usefulness "in determining whether health risks might be associated with living near the lakes."

GLUE's Sarah Szurpicki interviewed Dave Dempsey of Great Lakes Blogger, Jim Rowen of the Political Environment, and Noah Hall of the Great Lakes Law Blog about the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact in advance of a conference call on Tuesday. Hall and Dempsey also discussed the Compact last week on Interlochen Public Radio.

The U.S. Senate unanimously voted to ratify the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact today. The House Judiciary Committee approved the Compact on Wednesday, and the full House is expected to act on it when members return in September. In addition, committees in both houses voted to reauthorize the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

In a statement released yesterday, President Bush announced his support for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Compact tomorrow.

Bipartisan resolutions for the ratification of the Great Lakes (PDF)-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact were introduced in both houses of Congress this morning. The Senate bill is sponsored by Carl Levin and George Voinovich, and the House bill by John Conyers, Jr., Vern Ehlers, Steve LaTourette, and Jim Oberstar.

Governor Granholm of Michigan and Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania signed Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact legislation earlier this week. The Compact has now been adopted by all eight Great Lakes states. John McCain and Barack Obama both expressed their support for Congressional ratification of the Compact.

Last week, the Pennsylvania Senate approved the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The agreement has now been passed by all eight state legislatures. When the bills are signed by the governors of Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Compact will move to the U.S. Congress for ratification.

Update: NPR presents more details.

On Friday, Governor Strickland signed the bill ratifying the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. Legislators in Michigan also passed the agreement, and Governor Granholm is expected to sign it, leaving Pennsylvania as the only state that has yet to approve the Compact.

An Akron Beacon Journal says that the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact "is essential to the region effectively managing a most valuable resource, one-fifth of the planet's fresh water." Toledo Blade columnist Tom Henry says that the "eight-state agreement could go down in history as one of the most important of our era."

Ohio Republican legislators were able to appease Democrats in the Ohio House, and as expected, the House approved placing the proposed water rights constitutional amendment on the November ballot and the Ohio Senate unanimously voted in favor of joining the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. Governor Strickland said he would sign the Compact.

Update: the Blade and the Plain Dealer have more details.

Plans to approve the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact suffered a setback in the Ohio legislature yesterday. Democrats in the House blocked a proposal to put a water rights constitutional amendment on the ballot, and Senate Republicans responded by calling off a vote on the Compact. Legislators will discuss the issue again on June 10.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial predicts that Governor "Strickland will knock heads among Democrats" to get the Compact passed.

A new report from the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition describes the likely impacts of global warming on the Great Lakes and recommends several changes in federal policy. It predicts that the lakes will be warmer and shallower, and will see increases in pollution and dead zones. The solutions identified include adoption of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy.

Governor Doyle of Wisconsin signed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact today, leaving Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as the only states that have yet to adopt the agreement. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Ohio Senate's pending approval of the Compact makes "Ohio's long-term future got a bit more secure".

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune looked at the Compact's implications for communities near the lakes and quoted Peter Annin: "In the near future, the tensions over Great Lakes diversions are actually going to be in the Great Lakes region."

The stalemate over the Great Lakes Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact appears to be over, and the Ohio Senate is expected to approve it before adjourning next week for summer break. It's also anticipated that the Senate and House will vote to place Senator Grendell's proposed water rights constitutional amendment on the November ballot, although the two items are not formally linked.

Update: the Ohio Senate unanimously voted to put the amendment on the ballot.

Recent Plain Dealer editorials praise the regionalism agenda of the Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association and the Cleveland District of Design collaboration. An editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal says that "the Republican majority in the Ohio Senate stands strikingly alone" in its opposition to the Great Lakes Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, while an editorial in the Plain Dealer says that the opposition may be breaking down.

Update: an editorial in the Beacon Journal is also positive about the regionalism initiative.

Wisconsin and Michigan are close to adopting the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, increasing pressure on the Ohio Senate to also approve the pact. Ohio and Pennsylvania are now the only states whose legislatures have not passed it. NPR devoted today's episode of Talk of the Nation to a discussion of the Great Lakes.

The U.S. Senate approved former ODNR Director Sam Speck's appointment to the binational International Joint Commission. The opening was created when Dennis Schornack was fired last year.

Ohio State Senator Tim Grendell is scheduled to introduce his proposed groundwater rights constitutional amendment today. He has said that he would end his opposition of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact if the amendment is approved. Others assert that the amendment wouldn't change Ohio's water law and that it shouldn't be tied to approval of the Compact.

State Rep. Matt Dolan and State Sen. Tim Grendell will discuss the merits of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact in Newbury Township tomorrow. Grendell is also scheduled to discuss the compact at an event on Monday in Chesterland.

The planned Melford International Terminal, a $300 million container cargo port in Nova Scotia, has the potential to bring increased containerized shipping to ports in Cleveland and Toledo.

U.S. Senators George Voinovich and Carl Levin introduced the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2008 on Thursday. The bill would expand upon the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002 and provide $150 million annually over the next ten years for the cleanup of the 43 Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The funding increase is one of the recommendations of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy.

The Great Lakes Urban Exchange Cleveland chapter held its second monthly meeting yesterday. The group will hold its first of four community web launches on June 21 in Buffalo.

The Centers for Disease Control released a revised draft of its controversial study on heath risks in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The new draft contradicts earlier versions by omitting county-level data and saying that "current health and environmental data collection cannot define the threat to human health from critical pollutants in the Great Lakes region."

(via GLIN)

At a meeting in Toledo yesterday, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher called on the Ohio Senate to approve the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. He also said the state should "develop an industry cluster based on companies that deal with safe, clean water."

(via Crain's Cleveland Business)

A Plain Dealer editorial draws connections between a recent report on the potential financial benefits of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, ballast water legislation recently passed by the U.S. House, the nascent water technology industry, and the Ohio Senate's stance on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.

The U.S. EPA and Environment Canada issued biennial plans for each of the five Great Lakes. The 2008 Lake Erie Lakewide Management Plan is available for download.

In a supplement to a report from last year, the Brookings Institution estimated that implementation of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy would lead to a $2.1 billion to $3.7 billion increase in residential property values in the Cleveland metropolitan area.

In the third and final article in its series on water issues, the Plain Dealer examined ways that the Cleveland area could utilize its wealth of water for economic advantage, and noted the recent Global Water Ventures of Cleveland feasibility study.

Meanwhile, a pair of newspaper editorials weighed in on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The Morning Journal says that "best thing [State Senator Time Grendell] can do for Ohio is drop his objections entirely and help get the Great Lakes pact approved as soon as possible." The Plain Dealer called Grendell's proposal for a constitutional amendment "a laughable idea designed to prevent or slow passage of the water deal."

Wisconsin legislators reached a compromise in language for the adoption of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, and are are expected to ratify it at a special legislative session on April 17. Ohio State Senator Tim Grendell, the state's most vocal critic of the Compact, said he would be willing to drop his opposition if Ohio voters approve a constitutional amendment that he is drafting. Senator Grendell, Ohio State Rep. Matt Dolan, and author Peter Annin were among the guests on yesterday's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN, where they discussed the Compact.

In the second part of its series on water issues, the Plain Dealer looks at the legislative debate surrounding the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, and adds an infographic and a FAQ on the Compact.

Toledo's Blade includes a look at John Austin's suggestions for improving the Great Lakes economy, and a column by Tom Henry that says that Lee Fisher "should have known better" than to suggest that Ohio might "sell Great Lakes water to thirsty parts of the country".

(via Great Lakes Blogger and Economic News from Ohio's Regions)

At a Lake Erie development summit in Toledo, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher mentioned the possibility of selling Great Lakes water, but quickly retracted the statement. At the same event, John Austin of the Brookings Institution spoke about the new Vital Connection report. A Morning Journal editorial says that "the main impressions left by the conference are that communities throughout this region must work in unison to the benefit of the entire Great Lakes area".

An editorial in the Plain Dealer says that the Republicans in the Ohio Senate who have been blocking approval of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact "should find the uproar over Fisher's comments instructive". The Plain Dealer also prepared a presentation that summarizes the Compact.

The Plain Dealer began a series on water issues with a piece on the Great Lakes and water diversions.

The Brookings Institution published The Vital Connection, an update to The Vital Center, their 2006 report about the Great Lakes. The new report includes an analysis of the region's economy and "offers a short set of ambitious, necessary, and doable recommendations for how U.S. and Canadian leadership can help strengthen the bi-national economic relationship in the Great Lakes region".

This week's Free Times recounts the saga of the recently-released CDC study about health risks in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern, and takes a closer look at the sites in Northeast Ohio.

Earlier this month, New York became the fourth state to join the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The Council of Great Lakes Governors maintains a page tracking the compact's implementation status.

Under pressure from Congress, the Centers for Disease Control published 2004 and 2007 drafts of a study detailing health issues in the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. The agency also highlighted its concerns about the report, and asked the national Institute of Medicine to review the document.

State Senator Tim Grendell continues to promote his rewritten version of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The original version has gathered broad support in most Great Lakes states, and a Plain Dealer editorial lambastes the Ohio Senate for its stance.

A new report on Great Lakes spending estimates that local governments invest $15 billion per year to protect the Great Lakes, a figure that greatly exceeds federal spending. Local officials say that the study should strengthen the case for a larger federal role. Today was also the third annual Great Lakes Day on Capitol Hill, where Great Lakes advocates presented their legislative priorities to lawmakers.

Indiana became the third state to enact the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact when Governor Daniels signed Compact legislation yesterday. Illinois and Minnesota endorsed the Compact last year.

The Ohio House overwhelmingly passed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact yesterday, but the Ohio Senate is considering its controversial alternative version. The eight governors of Great Lakes states again called on state legislators to approve the Compact (PDF) as originally written.

Charges that a Great Lakes environmental report was suppressed and its author demoted have led to a Congressional investigation of the Centers for Disease Control. A similar controversy surrounded a Canadian report several years ago.

While Indiana and New York are close to adopting the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, legislators in Ohio and Wisconsin could scuttle the compact. Ranking Republicans in the Ohio Senate and the Wisconsin Assembly introduced an alternative compact that they say provides a "viable alternative to the problematic wording (MS Word) in the Compact," but Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle accused them of trying to derail the compact.

(via Great Lakes Blogger)

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial again asserts that "there is no place in public life for elected officials who would put at risk the future of Northeast Ohio's most treasured asset."

A watchdog group claims that a study by the Centers for Disease Control on health problems near Great Lakes toxic sites was suppressed "because it contains such potentially 'alarming information' as evidence of elevated infant mortality and cancer rates." The Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit investigative organization, published excerpts of the unreleased report.

Update: a brief piece by Elizabeth Sullivan and an editorial in the Plain Dealer are both highly critical of the CDC's actions.

In this week's Cool Cleveland, Sarah Taylor relates how plans to develop an offshore wind farm in Lake Erie near Cleveland have prompted Canadian officials to renew their interest in building a Great Lakes wind farm.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the HOPE VI Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2007 last month, but President Bush's proposed budget again includes no funding for the public housing program. ULI's John McIlwain says that the program needs to be continued.

The proposed budget also includes a 15.9% reduction in funding for Great Lakes programs. Update: the Blade has more information about the proposed cuts in Great Lakes funding.

In a Morning Journal op-ed, State Senator Sue Morano says she expects the Ohio House to ratify the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact this week, and backs its passage in the Senate. She adds that "the Compact's ratification will be good for Ohio - not only in conserving our precious resource that is Lake Erie, but in preserving the extensive economic benefits the lake provides."

A group of roughly 50 activists affiliated with the Great Lakes Urban Exchange met this week in Buffalo to discuss and develop an agenda for improving the region.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the Ohio Legislature ought to approve the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Resources Compact. A Plain Dealer editorial, meanwhile, attributes Ohio's lack of a water technology industry to "hopelessly out-of-touch legislators" in the state Senate.

Update: Andy Guy comments on the emerging water technology industry and references the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on Siemens AG's Wisconsin operations that spurred the Plain Dealer editorial.

Great Lakes Urban Exchange is a new "multi-media documentary, networking, and creative research effort" intended to "tell new stories about Great Lakes cities and bring the people who love them together." Co-founders Abby Wilson and Sarah Szurpicki recently appeared on Smart City Radio. Meanwhile, former Cleveland Tech Czar Michael DeAloia recently launched The Cool History of Cleveland, a new weblog focusing on local history.

(via GreenCityBlueLake and Cool Cleveland)

State Rep. Matt Dolan and State Sen. Tim Grendell may again butt heads about whether Ohio should adopt the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Resources Compact. The House approved a similar Dolan-sponsored bill in 2006, but the Senate never voted on it due to opposition from Grendell.

In an editorial, the Plain Dealer again encourages Ohio legislators to approve the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, saying that they "cannot allow crackpot conspiracy theories to hold hostage this state's future."

President Bush intends to nominate former ODNR Director Sam Speck as one of the three U.S. commissioners of the International Joint Commission. The appointment requires confirmation by a U.S. Senate panel.

(via GLIN)

The Akron Beacon Journal looked at the status of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact in Ohio. Obtaining approval for the Compact from the Ohio Legislature is expected to be a priority for Governor Strickland in 2008. State Rep. Matt Dolan of Novelty will discuss the Compact on January 8 at a quarterly meeting of the Northeast Ohio Watershed Council.

Climate Change and Great Lakes Water Resources (PDF), a new report from the National Wildlife Federation, looks at threats to the Great Lakes from global warming and water diversion, and concludes that states need to approve the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.

(Update: a Plain Dealer editorial urges Ohio legislators to approve the compact.)

President Bush vetoed the Water Resources Development Act, but Congress is expected to override the veto.

(Update: The House overrode the veto on Tuesday, and the Senate followed suit on Thursday.)

A consultant told Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority officials that the port has "some potential" to handle container shipping. Most container traffic is handled by ports on the East and West Coasts, but those facilities are nearing capacity.

Despite the threat of a presidential veto, the US Senate approved the Water Resources Development Act, a bill authorizing $23 billion in water resource projects, by a vote of 81 to 12.

A coalition of Canadian environmental groups issued the Great Lakes Blueprint (PDF), a report that calls on Canadian governments to do more to clean up and protect the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

(via Listen to Your Lakes)

Peter Annin, the author of The Great Lakes Water Wars, was recently in town, and he spoke to WSKU's Karen Schaefer about the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and Akron's water diversions.

The Brookings Institution marked the start of the annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Chicago by releasing a cost-benefit analysis of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy. It concludes that a $26 billion investment in Great Lakes restoration would yield a $50 billion long-term economic benefit and between $30 and $50 billion in short term multiplier benefits.

(Update: The Detroit News offers additional details.)

On Friday, Illinois became the second state to endorse the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, joining Minnesota, which enacted the Compact in February.

"Testing the Waters", the Natural Resources Defense Council's annual report on water quality and public notification at U.S. beaches, says that Ohio's Lake Erie beaches pose the greatest health risk in the nation. The problems are largely due to high bacteria levels from combined sewer overflows.

(Update: The Plain Dealer and WKSU offer more details.)

Last week, the U.S. House and Senate reached an agreement on a $21 billion reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act, which includes many projects that would benefit the Great Lakes region. However, President Bush said he will veto the bill because he feels it's too expensive. The veto threat caused the Senate to enter its summer recess without passing the bill.

Last week, Representatives Mark Kirk and Dan Lipinski introduced the Great Lakes Water Protection Act in the US House. It would quadruple fines for the release of sewage into the Great Lakes, starting in 2027. Rep. Kirk named Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee as the three largest sewage dischargers.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority hired John Martin Associates to conduct a 12 week, $75,000 study on potential container cargo traffic and the amount of land and investment it would require.

Yesterday, the US EPA and Environment Canada released the 2007 State of the Great Lakes Highlights Report at the International Joint Commission Great Lakes Biennial Meeting and Conference in Chicago. It offers good and bad news about the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes Areas of Concern conference, titled "Achieving Restoration Targets and Sustaining Stewardship", will be held in Cleveland on June 28 and 29. The registration (PDF) deadline is June 22.

The Plain Dealer reminds readers that Burke Lakefront Airport is built upon landfill and dredge material, and would require extensive remediation and stabilization in order to be redeveloped. Meanwhile, some suggest that instead of closing Burke, the Cuyahoga County Airport should be closed and its traffic shifted to Burke.

Officials at the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority think that the rapid growth in international container cargo traffic may outstrip the capacity of ports on the East and West coasts. One of the reasons the Port Authority's relocation study was delayed was to obtain expert opinion on Cleveland's prospects for increased trade.

A panel of scientists said that by the end of the century, the Great Lakes region will have a significantly different climate because of global warming. They predicted that Ohio's climate will be much like that of present-day Tennessee or eastern Texas.

Minnesota remains the only state that has ratified the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, and it faces obstacles in several states, including Ohio. There is no deadline, and supporters are confident that it will be endorsed by the state legislatures.

Bipartisan bills that call for over $20 billion to implement the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy were introduced in both houses of Congress yesterday. The bills are virtually identical to legislation introduced last year. Senators Carl Levin and George Voinovich introduced S. 791, and Representatives Vern Ehlers and Rahm Emanuel introduced H.R. 1350.

State Senator Tim Grendell says he will introduce a bill that calls for a joint legislative task force to study the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact for the rest of 2007, which would delay a vote on the agreement until at least 2008. The Ohio House passed enabling legislation in December, but the Ohio Senate never voted on the measure. Members of both chambers plan to reintroduce bills this year.

The International Joint Commission issued its Thirteenth Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality (PDF), in which it said that the United States and Canada have been "good, but not exemplary, stewards of our lakes." It stressed that governments need to be more accountable to their commitments to improve water quality.

Environmentalists say that funding cuts in President Bush's proposed federal budget will hinder efforts to improve Great Lakes water quality and to address issues identified by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy.

Main Index | Archives | About

This is an archive of entries in the Great Lakes category. See the main index for recent content.

Categories

Municipalities

Watersheds

Counties

Broader geographies

Land use

Transportation

Environment

Other