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'
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 Act." 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 values. 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 quality; -- 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 Initiative. 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: http://www3.brookings.edu/metro/speeches/20070905_GLEI.pdf http://www.healthylakes.org/
SOURCE Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition
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