Chicago Mayor Daley Hails Regional Approach to Great Lake Issues
June 7, 2004
Mayor Richard M. Daley congratulated federal officials for agreeing to give mayors and governors a major role in shaping Great Lake policies.
Daley met May 18 with Mike Leavitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft in Chicago as they announced a process of regional collaboration on the Great Lakes, the world's largest source of fresh water.
"We now have a coalition of federal, state and local leaders on behalf of the Great Lakes and that should be good news for the people for the people of Chicago, the Great Lakes Region and the region and the entire nation," Daley said at a news conference at Navy Pier.
"Today's announcement acknowledges the critical role of mayors and gives us a seat at the table for Great Lakes governance," Daley said. "This is a major milestone for the Great Lake Cities initiative, as well as my fellow Great Lakes mayors."
Daley created the Great Lake Cities Initiative, composed of mayors from the U.S. and Canadian cities on or near the Great Lakes, two years ago.
Last year, the Great Lakes Cities Initiative teamed up with the Council of Great Lakes Governors, which Taft heads, to push for a stronger state and vocal voice in the Great Lakes issues.
"Mayors are in the front lines when it comes to making decisions regarding the lakes-closing beaches, repairing shorelines, controlling wastewater discharges, conserving drinking water and regulating lakefront development," Daley said. "The Great Lakes have an enormous impact on the quality of life in our cities, and we have a responsibility to protect and preserve them for future generations."
The mayor said federal, state and local officials now must define how the collaborative process will work; identify an end date and outcomes for the process; continue to bring dedicated leadership to the cause; and commit significant additional resources to ensuring that the work gets done. He called for passage of legislation protecting the lakes against invasive species; funding for drinking water infrastructure, wastewater-treatment infrastructure and storm-water management; new programs to revitalize and protect waterfronts; and passage of the Great Lakes Restoration bill that authorizes funding of Great Lakes improvement projects.