HARRISBURG, Pa., April 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Representatives from the departments of Environmental Protection, Community and Economic Development and Transportation joined dignitaries from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin as well as Ontario and Quebec at the Council of Great Lakes Governors meeting from April 25 to 26.
This annual executive meeting of the Council of Great Lakes Governors focuses on environmental and economic issues impacting the Great Lakes. The theme of this year's meeting was "accelerating progress".
During the meeting, the states and provinces agreed to continue to advance several environmental and economic initiatives resulting from resolutions signed last year by the council members. These initiatives include:
- A maritime initiative that is moving forward on a task force's recommendations for improving the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River maritime system. This includes financing options for the maintenance or replacement of aging infrastructure. Pennsylvania has named Herb Packer, Director of PennPORTs, to represent Pennsylvania in this area.
- Trade policy priorities to improve state trade and export promotion implementation and effectiveness.
- Trade facilitation between Canada and the U.S. to increase trade between the U.S. and Canada.
- Agreement to continue to partner on water monitoring and addressing nutrient enrichment and other water quality issues in the Great Lakes.
- Aquatic Invasive Species Partnership Initiative that will formalize a partnership between the U.S. and Canada to work together on Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) through the development of a Mutual Aid Agreement.
- A proclamation designating the first week of June as "Beach Safety Awareness Week," a reminder of the importance of recognizing potential water hazards as the summer recreational season commences.
Most notably, a Mutual Aid Agreement for combatting invasive species threats was signed by council members. This mutual aid agreement will be the first of its kind pledging mutual aid between states and provinces to combat AIS in the Great Lakes.
"The Mutual Aid Agreement will not only help protect the environment, it's creative thinking that will allow us to more effectively address invasive species by sharing the capacity that we've all built individually," DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said.
A highlight of the meeting was a roundtable discussion led by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson that focused on "Growing Regional Manufacturing," maximizing competitiveness and further attracting additional investments that support manufacturing jobs.
With a flexible and productive workforce, lower energy costs and a resilient corporate sector, the U.S., and specifically Pennsylvania, is becoming a more attractive place to manufacture goods consumed in North America. The demand for high quality, U.S.-made products is also creating opportunities abroad and opening doors to new export markets.
"The Great Lakes region is home to some of the nation's largest manufacturers, abundant natural resources and provides access to some of the largest markets – assets that are a key to bringing manufacturers back to the U.S.," Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker said. "Working as a Great Lakes region will strengthen our collective efforts to bring new investment and manufacturing jobs to the region which will result in a stronger Pennsylvania."
The Council of Great Lakes Governors was established in 1983 to manage the environmental and economic challenges of the Great Lakes states. The council encourages and facilitates environmentally responsible economic growth through a cooperative effort between the public and private sectors among the eight Great Lakes States and with Ontario and Québec.
For more information, visit, www.cglg.org.
Amanda Witman, DEP, 717-787-1323
Steve Kratz, DCED, 717-783-1132
Erin Waters-Trasatt, PennDOT, 717-783-1132
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; Pennsylvania Department of Transportation