The Great Lakes are one of the natural wonders of the world. But the Lakes are losing water, and are threatened by chemical and biological pollution. Demand for clean, fresh water is increasing at a staggering rate worldwide. Recognizing these threats, PEC works cooperatively with numerous and varied stakeholders throughout the Great Lakes basin, including elected state, county and local officials, agencies, business people, and conservation organizations to educate key audiences about the importance of the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Erie, to the states' and region's economy and environment. PEC's efforts include three major components: Education, stakeholder facilitation and mediation, and implementation assistance. PEC works with other regional partners to educate the media, key decision makers, land owners and farmers, business leaders, scientists, and other audiences on the importance of the Great Lakes and the need to the protect the region's most critical natural resource - water. Maintaining water supplies is essential to the region's ecology and economy. And there is an urgent need for action now, because the Great Lakes could face major water withdrawals as other regions of the country look to replenish their supplies. Building on its past experience with stakeholder processes and its current involvement with the state's Great Lakes basin Water Planning Committee, PEC has identified key stakeholders and continues to engage them in a series of discussions on the Great Lakes with the intention of developing consensus that can be leveraged to conserve and restore the Lakes.
As a critical step forward in their recognition of the value of the Great Lakes as a public resource, in 2005 the eight Great Lakes governors endorsed an unprecedented agreement for protecting the Great Lakes: the "Great Lakes - Saint Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact" (please see: http://www.cglg.org/projects/water/CompactImplementation.asp). Governor Ed Rendell endorsed the Compact after years of work, including the tireless efforts of Governor Tom Ridge dating back to the 1990s. That Compact will provide equal protection for Great Lakes states as we enjoy, use and care for the waters of the Great Lakes now and into the future.