(MILWAUKEE)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today joined other Great Lakes leaders for the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers 2019 Leadership Summit, where the governors and premiers announced actions to protect water and grow the regional economy.
“We share the commitment of protecting and promoting the Great Lakes, this incredible natural resource,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Vice Chair of the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers. “In Ohio, we border Lake Erie, the shallowest of the Great Lakes and one especially susceptible to threats like invasive species and harmful algal blooms. I have made protecting Lake Erie a priority of my administration and have introduced a program called H2Ohio to invest in long-term water quality solutions.”
The governors and premiers announced a series of resolutions on issues including addressing drinking water contaminants, boosting the regional cruising industry, calling on Congress to fully fund construction of a new Soo Lock, increasing maritime trade with Europe, and harnessing private-sector capital for regional environmental improvements.
Also as part of the summit, Governor DeWine, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks Rod Phillips (representing Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford) pledged their commitment to the goals of the Western Basin of Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement, which aims to reduce phosphorous inputs to the Western Lake Erie Basin by 40 percent by 2025, with an interim goal of a 20 percent reduction by 2020.
“The Midwest region is defined by our Great Lakes. Michigan’s economy, our jobs, drinking water, and public health all depend on them. These bi-partisan efforts are an important step towards reducing phosphorus run off into the Western Lake Erie Basin, but there is more work to be done. Recent news reports are indicating that this summer’s algal blooms in Lake Erie are projected to be higher than in previous years. These reports emphasize the need for this important work. We must push for increased efforts to gauge our progress in meeting the reductions and continue to address Harmful Algal Blooms so that we’re able to protect our Great Lakes for generations to come,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“Ontario is proud to stand with Ohio and Michigan in reaffirming our commitment to reduce phosphorus loadings into the western basin of Lake Erie,” said Minister Phillips. “This will help reduce algal blooms, which can be harmful to human health and the environment. Collaborating with our partners across the border to manage phosphorus in order to reduce harmful algal blooms is the most effective way we can address this serious environmental challenge and protect communities on all sides of this Great Lake.”
This weekend’s summit is being hosted by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Chair of the Conference of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers. The organization unites the chief executives from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Québec, and Wisconsin to grow the region’s $6 trillion economy and protect the world’s largest system of surface fresh water. The partnership builds on over 30 years of work by the Council of Great Lakes Governors to encourage and facilitate environmentally responsible economic development.
Governor DeWine was named Vice Chair of the organization shortly after he took office in January.