Obama, With Emanuel, May Spell Greater Conservation Efforts for the Great Lakes

Advocacy groups and political analysts predict strong Great Lakes conservation and restoration policies under President-Elect Barack Obama, the Detroit Free Press reports. The appointment of Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) as Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, further bolsters these hopes.

Cameron Davis, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes and an Obama campaign advisor, told reporters that “it’s hard to imagine how the Great Lakes could not be a priority.”

Obama and Emanuel, both residents of Chicago, have often argued for Great Lakes-centric conservation policies in Congress.

After calling Emanuel the “the godfather of Great Lakes restoration,” Davis continued, “He swims in Lake Michigan for exercise and for fun. I know he’s got a very intimate connection to the lake that we care so much about, and I can’t imagine that will be lost or ignored.”

Still any real policy actions remain just speculation, as the president-elect inherits a faltering economy and a staggering deficit.

“It will be very hard for a president to propose major new programs unless you can find the money somewhere to fund them,” Michael Kraft, professor of public and environmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay told the Free Press. “Spending will be severely constrained.”

Source: Detroit Free Press

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