During March’s “Great Lakes Week” hosted by the Great Lakes Commission, Representative Marcy Kaptur spoke about the Great Lakes Authority.
The Great Lakes Authority, which would be a federal entity focused on the economic interests of the Great Lakes region, is an idea the congresswoman has fought to pass into legislation for some years now.
“The Great Lakes region is the industrial workhorse that powers America,” Kaptur said in a press release. “By investing in workforce development, innovative energy technologies and manufacturing processes, and responsible stewardship of our precious Great Lakes ecosystem, the Great Lakes Authority will unlock the Heartland’s full potential for this 21st century. .”
According to the bill, the GLA would further the region’s economic interests, including protecting the Great Lakes, advancing the workforce, funding clean energy and green infrastructure, and expanding manufacturing and industrial capabilities of the region.
On Thursday, Rep. Kaptur (D-OH) introduced the Great Lakes Authority Act to establish and fund the GLA. The bill’s co-sponsors include Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Dan Kildee (D-MI) , Brad Schneider (D-IL), Joe Morelle (D-NY) and Haley Stevens (D-MI).
Of the nine sponsors, five of the eight Great Lakes states are represented, with Indiana, Minnesota and Pennsylvania absent.
The full text of the bill is available online. It is currently a stand-alone bill, although sponsors are working to incorporate it into broader legislation, according to Rep. Kaptur’s office.
“We appreciate Congresswoman Kaptur’s leadership in pursuing the development of a Great Lakes Authority,” Greater Cleveland Partnership President and CEO Baiju R. Shah said in the statement. “The Authority can be a catalyst to boost regional economic growth, expand regional prosperity and protect the world’s largest source of fresh water.”
The Great Lakes Authority Act would provide the GLA with $30 million beginning in fiscal year 2023 and $50 million annually thereafter.
“By creating the Great Lakes Authority, the federal government can now become a partner in the economic restoration of the Great Lakes region,” said Steve Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association.
The GLA would be made up of nine people – a chairperson appointed by the president and approved by the Senate, and one person from each of the eight Great Lakes states appointed by that state’s governor. Members will serve five-year terms.
The GLA would also be required to submit reports to Congress on its regional development plan, would be required to consult with other federal agencies, and would be subject to appropriations.
The GLA was modeled after regional commissions like the Appalachian Regional Commission, with one key difference – it is watershed-based rather than county-based.
During her Great Lakes Week remarks, Kaptur said she hopes a Great Lakes Authority can invest in technology and other projects that would make it as self-sufficient as other regional authorities like Tennessee. Valley Authority.
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Featured Image: Lake Superior from Almost Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan (Photo Credit: Zosette Guir/Detroit Public Television)