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Great Lakes Article:

Daley uses clout to help guard Great Lakes
By Kelly Quigley
Chicago Business

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 the initiative.

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.

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