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WUWM's Susan Bence reports on Wisconsin environmental issues.

Great Lakes Leaders Meet In Milwaukee, Pledge To Protect Region's Economy & Environment

Susan Bence
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers leaves Friday press conference at Discovery World with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Ontario Minister of the Environment Rod Phillips.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers officially assumed his role as chair of the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Friday as he welcomed the group to Milwaukee.

“Today, we are gathering to protect this natural asset that is the source of our continuing prosperity,” Evers said.

The group formed over 30 years ago to cultivate environmentally-responsible economic growth.

Evers' U.S. and Canadian counterparts echoed their commitment to act on water, transportation, impact investing, and tourism, through what is being called “a series of ambitious actions to grow the region’s $6 trillion economy and protect the world’s greatest freshwater system.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine underscored the importance of addressing water quality challenges, from algal blooms to invasive species.

“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,” DeWine said.  

Evers said the Conference will hold a special meeting in mid-July to discuss strategies to address the threat of Asian carp.

“Certainly, Wisconsin has a lot to lose by not addressing this issue head on and I would work with the Legislature to make sure that we have the resources to do that,” Evers said.

While Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is encouraged by the July meeting, she thinks the group needs to move quickly.

“If and when [Asian carp] breech into the Great Lakes, every one of us will pay an enormous price. …We’ve got to make sure we have a barrier that is impenetrable,” Whitmer said.

The leadership meeting continues through Sunday.

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Susan is WUWM's environmental reporter.
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