From L-R: Senator Ed Markey, Professor Don Wuebbles, Senator Tammy Duckworth, ELPC Executive Director Howard Learner, Professor Dana Infante, Professor Ashish Sharma
On July 9 I joined ELPC’s Federal Legislative Director Ann Mesnikoff, and three prominent Midwest university scientists – Professors Dana Infante (Michigan State U), Ashish Sharma (Notre Dame and U-Illinois) and Don Wuebbles (U-Illinois) – to present ELPC’s strategic advocacy and messaging frame based on our Midwest focus group research and Great Lakes Climate Change Impacts Assessment.
Our day started off with a meeting with the United States Senate Climate Task Force– U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) (Chair), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). We discussed the toll climate change is taking on the Great Lakes and strategies and policy solutions to combat it. We discussed how our focus groups in the spring revealed that swing voters are concerned about climate change, they want to see action, and they care about the Great Lakes. They trust midwestern Big 10 university scientists so we are continuing our outreach across the region.
We then hosted a morning briefing for Hill staff with the Northeast-Midwest Institute. The room was completely packed with 85+ staff from 60 Senator and Representative offices. The turn out for the briefing demonstrates a strong interest in the Great Lakes and the impacts of climate change on them and the region. We had great questions following the presentations and will be working with the NEMW Institute on follow up.
ELPC’s framing of climate change challenges and solutions in the context of protecting the Great Lakes and safe, clean drinking water is resonating very well, resulting in a very productive day for the Environmental Law & Policy Center on Capitol Hill.