New Report: Restoring Great Lakes Would Bring Region $50 Billion in Economic Gain

Clean-Up Would Also Lead to $30-$50 Billion in Short-Term Economic


'The Great Lakes economy depends on the health of the Great Lakes'

Sep 05, 2007, 01:00 ET from Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition

    CHICAGO, Sept. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As political, business and
 advocacy leaders convene in Chicago to discuss the increasing toll invasive
 species, sewage contamination, toxic pollution and other threats are having
 on the Great Lakes, a new independent report released today concludes that
 restoring the health of the Great Lakes will create $50 billion in economic
 benefit for the region.
     The cost-benefit analysis, conducted by the Brookings Institution
 Metropolitan Policy Program, finds that efforts to improve the health of
 the Great Lakes will produce almost two times the economic gains compared
 to what it will cost.
     "This new report confirms in dollars and cents that the health of the
 Great Lakes economy depends on the health of the Great Lakes," said Robert
 Litan, a Brookings Senior Fellow and vice president for research and policy
 at the Kauffman Foundation, who led the team of researchers who conducted
 the study. "A tremendous opportunity exists to restore the lakes,
 re-invigorate the region's economy, and boost the competitiveness of the
 nation. The report makes a compelling case for Congress to act now to
 restore the lakes by passing the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation
     The report, "Healthy Waters, Strong Economy: The Benefits of Restoring
 the Great Lakes Ecosystem," concludes that the Great Lakes region stands to
 gain at least $50 billion in long-term economic benefit from an investment
 of $26 billion. That is a net gain of at least $24 billion dollars from
 increases in tourism, the fishing industry, recreational activity and home
     The restoration funds would go towards:
     -- modernizing wastewater treatment systems to reduce sewage and other
 contamination that will mean fewer beach closings and improved water
     -- stopping invasive species and increasing the supply of fish in the
 Great Lakes to avoid the dislocation of sport-fishery workers and assets;
     -- restoring and protecting wildlife habitat for birds and waterfowl
 for naturalists and hunters to enjoy; and,
     -- removing contaminated sediment in areas of high concern to reclaim
 communities and increase property values.
     The report authors analyzed the cost of restoring the lakes and
 economic benefit to the region of implementing the Great Lakes Regional
 Collaboration Strategy, a comprehensive plan crafted by civic, business,
 environmental, government and Tribal representatives after President Bush
 signed an executive order in 2004. That strategy has been translated into
 comprehensive legislation which currently sits dormant in Congress.
     "The report makes clear that investing in the Great Lakes is a wise
 investment now, but the longer we wait to restore the Great Lakes, the
 higher the price tag will be," said co-author John C. Austin, non-resident
 Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution.
     The report also estimates that the region would experience an
 additional $30 billion to $50 billion in short-term economic activity from
 Great Lakes clean up
     The report was conducted by researchers affiliated with the Brookings
 Institution for a coalition of business, industrial and environmental
 organizations, including the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, the
 Council of Great Lakes Industries, and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities
     Funding for the report was provided by the Joyce Foundation, MacArthur
 Foundation, Consumers Energy Foundation and Dow Chemical Foundation. The
 views expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect the views of the
 sponsoring foundations.
     For more information or to download the report, visit:

SOURCE Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition