State Legislators From 5 States Come Together to Protect the Great Lakes

Lawmakers discussed top environmental threats such as invasive species and nutrient pollution


CHICAGO, IL. – State Representative Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) joined a bipartisan group of more than 20 state legislators from five states at the 2017 Great Lakes Forum organized by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) in Chicago on November 3rd and 4th.

“Participating in this forum provided me the opportunity to collaborate with other policymakers from states in the Great Lakes region on how to preserve and strengthen Illinois’ greatest natural resource; Lake Michigan and all the tributaries that supply drinking water to local families,” Rep. Bellock said. “Ecological threats to Lake Michigan are constantly evolving; from pollution to different types of invasive species. It is imperative that we work together in a proactive manner with other Great Lakes states to protect our water for future generations.”

The health of the Great Lakes took center stage as lawmakers learned about how an influx of plastic pollution threatens the ecosystem and human health. Small particles that shed off of clothing, called microfibers, are a specific emerging threat highlighted at the forum through a discussion on the latest research.

“NCEL exists to provide a dedicated space for legislators to come together and have productive conversations on these issues across state and party lines,” said NCEL Executive Director Jeff Mauk. “States play a vital role in protecting the Great Lakes and their surrounding communities, and we believe that lawmakers are better positioned to act on environmental threats when they are able to collaborate and share ideas with their colleagues from across the region and country.”

NCEL is a nationwide network of state legislators from all 50 states and both major parties. Established in 1996, the Caucus serves as a resource for legislators from both parties on environmental issues. NCEL has convened legislators from the region since 2001, and its members have championed key policies protecting the ecosystem, including adoption the Great Lakes Compact and the enactment of state bans on microbeads.

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