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Mayor John Dickert of the City of Racine, Wisconsin is the new President/CAO of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

Mayors that are members of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSCI) met in Montreal June 14-16 to attend the organization’s 2017 annual meeting and conference. The mayors enacted seven resolutions at the mayors-only business meeting on June 14. Among other things, the resolutions recognized the importance of advocating the US government to restore funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in FY2018; encouraged the Canadian government to develop a comprehensive strategy and framework for funding Great Lakes protection and restoration, especially since continued US funding for the GLRI in FY2018 and beyond is uncertain; and recognized the increased role for cities in the fight against climate change now that the US has departed from the Paris Agreement.

Three of the resolutions enacted by the mayors addressed issues that are particularly pertinent to CGLI’s issue agenda. One resolution encourages US EPA, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Health Canada to protect human health and water resources from the impact of coal tar sealants. The resolution encourages the federal governments to continue evaluating these substances and calls on local governments to consider an ordinance that bans their use within municipal borders. A second resolution calls for restrictions on the use of microbeads in personal care products. A third resolution calls on oil pipeline operators in the region to undertake necessary maintenance and conduct operations to ensure the structural and operational integrity of oil pipelines.

CGLI attended the conference that followed the mayors’ business meeting. Conference presentations highlighted binational partnerships that address Great Lakes issues and their importance to the advancement of local government initiatives, particularly relative to infrastructure maintenance and improvement, climate change, and water resource management. In addition, the mayors announced that GLSLCI’s current Executive Director, David Ullrich, will leave the organization after 14 years to intensify his focus on his various board activities and to pursue other interests. Mayor John Dickert of Racine, Wisconsin has been selected as GLSLCI’s President and Chief Administrative Officer beginning July 1. The mayors’ 2018 annual meeting and conference has been scheduled for June 13-15, 2018 in Ajax, Ontario. More information about GLSLCI is available at https://glslcities.org/.