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U.S. Senators Voinovich and Brown, Cleveland Mayor Jackson Call for Federal Investment to Restore Lake Erie, Great Lakes

Ohio Welcomes Healthy Lakes Tour to Highlight the Need for Great Lakes Restoration

CLEVELAND, Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The fastest sailboat on the Great Lakes arrived in Cleveland this week as part of a 13-city tour carrying a message for the presidential candidates and Congress to restore the Great Lakes.

U.S. Senators George Voinovich and Sherrod Brown, represented by Deputy State Director Beth Thames, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, and area state lawmakers, joined local businesses, environmental-conservation groups and citizens at a reception held at the Great Lakes Science Center today to outline a "back-to-school lesson plan" for cleaning up and restoring the Great Lakes.

The plan calls on presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to commit $20 billion over five years to restore the Great Lakes as outlined in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy -- a comprehensive clean-up plan endorsed by citizens, industry, mayors, governors and the region's congressional delegation.

Included in this "lesson plan" is a call to quickly pass the following legislation in Congress:

-- Ballast water management legislation to keep destructive invasive species out of the lakes

-- Great Lakes Legacy Act to clean up toxic pollution in 26 Areas of Concern

-- Clean Water Restoration Act to protect an estimated 115,000 miles of streams and numerous isolated wetlands

-- Great Lakes Compact to prohibit the exportation of Great Lakes water out of the region and to ensure the sustainable use of water within

"We have come a long way since the days of the 'Burning River,' but our Great Lakes are still plagued by the invasion of non-native species and sewage overflows that foul our waterways and beaches," said U.S. Senator George Voinovich. "As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I am hopeful that the presidential candidates will join our fight to protect our drinking water, economy, health and way of life and support full funding for Great Lakes restoration at $20 billion over five years. I also call on the candidates to support the Executive Order to put in place an orchestral leader to oversee the restoration efforts in the Great Lakes."

Lake Erie provides drinking water for millions of citizens in the greater Cleveland area. It is also an economic engine for the region, including the third-largest port on the Great Lakes. The Cuyahoga-Cleveland Port Authority supports 11,000 jobs that generate $572 million in personal incomes.

A recent report by the Brookings Institutition found that restoring the Great Lakes would generate more than $2.1 billion in economic gains for Cleveland and over $80 billion for the region.

"The Great Lakes drive economic development," said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. "By investing in our Great Lakes, we can create new jobs, provide more clean drinking water, and stop the spread of invasive species."

"Restoring the Great Lakes would be a boon for all Ohio," said Kristy Meyer of the Ohio Environmental Council. "We know what the problems are and we know how to fix them. Every day we wait, the problems get worse and the solutions more costly. Restoration is critical to the economic health of Cleveland and all of Ohio's Coast."

Organized by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, the Earth Voyager 13-city summer tour launched in Buffalo, N.Y., on June 6 and will reach its final port in Rochester, N.Y. on September 6.

SOURCE Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition

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