Lake Michigan Shore


Ann Mesnikoff

Great Lakes Days in Washington, D.C

Advocates from across the Great Lakes states went to Washington, D.C. to educate lawmakers about the programs and policies that protect them.

As a member of the Healing Our Waters Coalition the Environmental Law & Policy Center joined this week for Great Lakes Days in Washington, DC. Advocates from across the Great Lakes states all came together to ensure all members of the Great Lakes congressional delegation and beyond learn about the importance of the Great Lakes and the programs and policies that protect them.

Our shared agenda included building support for the Great Lakes Restoration Act of 2024, funding for important clean water programs that support safe clean drinking water and waste water projects, protecting our Lakes from PFAs and plastic pollution, and ensuring the Farm Bill includes strong and smart conservation programs that help keep pollution from farms out of our waters. You can check out the coalition’s priorities here.

Great Lakes Days brings together more than the Healing Our Waters Coalition. The Great Lakes Commission was also meeting as were other officials from across the region. All of us joined together at a reception at the Canadian Embassy to celebrate the Great Lakes and to honor a champion for them – Senator Stabenow.

The larger Great Lakes community also gathered to for a  congressional breakfast and another opportunity to hear from champions for the Lakes. Senator Durbin and Representative Dingell both spoke about he urgency of preventing invasive Carp from getting into Lake Michigan and from there into the Great Lakes writ large. Getting all of the steps completed to allow the project at Brandon Road lock and Dam in Joliet going was a focus.

Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) & Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL):

The reception and the breakfast are one thing, the real work and reward of Great Lakes Days are the meetings with staff up on Capitol Hill. Our Illinois delegation brought together business, environmental justice, environmental, and community voices – all with important stories to convey to Hill staff that connect the dots between community impacts to the many policies important to protecting the Great Lakes. Whether it is the projects and jobs that come out of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to the impacts of lead pipes on families and communities and the urgency of federal funding and leadership to replace them, to the need to address the growing threats of PFAs and plastics – we had a great team.

Here are just a few group photos from meetings with congressional offices:

One of our key asks was for members of Congress to join in supporting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2024. As of today, 13 Senators support S. 3738 and 26 Representatives support H.R. 7257. Stay tuned for updates on this important effort.

Ann Mesnikoff,

Federal Legislative Director

Ann Mesnikoff is the federal legislative director at ELPC, working in Washington, D.C., with the Midwest Congressional Delegation and national coalitions to advance supportive clean energy, clean water and clean air, and transportation reform policies.

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