Daley uses clout to help guard
By Kelly Quigley
Mayor Richard M. Daley on Tuesday said he has launched
a Chicago-based office to help mayors of other U.S. and
Canadian cities collaborate on strategies to protect and
restore the Great Lakes.
The office will house the Great Lakes Cities Initiative,
a new organization that grew out of a conference of mayors
Mr. Daley organized here last November. Chicago-based
Joyce Foundation is providing a $250,000 grant to fund
David Ullrich, former deputy regional administrator
for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago,
has been named executive director of the new organization.
"For years, Great Lakes policies have been made in
Washington, Ottawa and the various state and provincial
capitals, with little or no input from the mayors of the
shoreline cities," Mr. Daley said at a news conference
at Foster Avenue Beach on Chicago’s north side. "Yet
mayors make critical decisions almost every day on issues
regarding the lakes."
He said city leaders are in charge of many of the lake
issues that matter most to residents, such as providing
safe beaches, repairing shorelines, conserving drinking
water and regulating lakefront development.
Mr. Daley also praised the introduction of two Great
Lakes bills in Congress this week that would provide billions
of dollars for lake restoration. The legislation also
would create an advisory board made up of mayors, governors
and representatives of various federal agencies that would
decide where the federal funding should go.
Officials from the Great Lakes Cities Initiative would
appoint many of the board members.
The House bill, sponsored by Reps. Rahm Emanuel, D-Chicago,
and Mark Kirk, R-Highland Park, would authorize $4 billion
over five years for Great Lakes improvement projects identified
by the advisory board. The Illinois congressmen are calling
for measures to rid the lakes of toxins, invasive species
and other threats to the ecology of the water system.
The Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio,
would authorize another $6 billion that the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency would distribute over 10 years, based
on the advisory board’s recommendations.