Last week, a coalition of Great Lakes Chambers of Commerce met with Congress members from across the Great Lakes region and asked each and every one to fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The group of 30 metro Chambers of Commerce from 12 states in the Great Lakes Region formed in 2008. They made their third trip to Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers on shared issues such as Great Lakes restoration.
They asked lawmakers to restore the $475 million GLRI to the FY2011 budget (the President’s budget lowered the amount recommended to $300 million), as well as create a national standard for ballast water discharges and other policies to fight invasive species. The group did not lobby lawmakers on the short-term solution to dealing with Asian carp that would require shutting down the locks in Chicago’s Sanitary and Shipping Canal.
By approaching Congress together and with a five point strategic agenda (the Blueprint for Prosperity) intended to reawaken the Great Lakes economic super region the group has a more powerful effect on Washington. They divide into teams made up people representing chambers from several states and then approach Members of Congress with a unified voice. The Chambers believe that restoring the lakes will have a strong economic impact on the region. We are grateful to have them on our side!