Council of Great Lakes Governors

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Council of Great Lakes Governors
Abbreviation CGLG
Formation 1983
Type Non-governmental organization
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Region served USA
Co-chairs Gov. Pat Quinn, Gov. Rick Snyder


The Council of Great Lakes Governors is an organization of Great Lakes Governors dedicated to promoting regional cooperation.

The Governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin created the Council of Great Lakes Governors in 1983. The original goal was to create a non-partisan forum to promote regional agreements on issues of concern for the states of the Great Lakes region. In 1989, the Governors of New York and Pennsylvania joined the council. In more recent years, the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec joined with the Governors as associate members. Since its inception, the council has led regional efforts to protect the environment and accelerate the region's economy.

The initial focus of the organization was biomass energy. The council administered the regional biomass energy program in coordination with the United States Department of Energy from 1983-2009. They received over $13 million in federal funding which was then provided as grants to the states geared toward biomass energy promotion.

In the following years, the Governors entered into a number of agreements developed through the council. In 1985, the Governors signed the Great Lakes Charter, a regional water management agreement. In 1986, the Governors signed the Toxic Substances Control Agreement, ultimately resulting in the Great Lakes Protection Fund in 1989, the first multi-state foundation dedicated to the environment. The TSCA also led indirectly to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Water Quality Initiative in the 1990s.

In 1988, the Governors signed the Economic Development Agreement, and in 1989, created Great Lakes of North America (now Great Lakes USA), a tourist promotional arm of the organization. In 1990, they opened their first international trade office in Canada. The organization has since opened trade offices in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, India and China.[1]

In 2003, the council identified nine priorities to restore and protect the Great Lakes. These priorities served as the basis for the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, which was launched following a Presidential Executive Order. In 2009, President Barack Obama launched the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative which is providing significant federal funding to help achieve the priorities.

In 2005, the council completed the creation of a binding, regional framework to manage and protect the water supply of the Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River Basin. The Governors and Premiers signed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement and the Governors endorsed the companion Great Lakes Compact. This Compact was enacted into law in 2008 following approval by the state legislatures and the United States Congress. The council now serves as secretariat to the Governors’ and Premiers’ Regional Body and the Governors’ Compact Council.


The organization has cooperated on the following projects:[2]

  • Great Lakes Water Management
  • Great Lakes USA
  • Great Lakes International Trade
  • Great Lakes Protection Fund
  • Great Lakes Protection and Restoration
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Project
  • The Auto Project
  • The Brownfields Project
  • Great Lakes Biomass State Regional Partnership
  • Great Lakes Recycle
  • Great Lakes Water Quality Initiative
  • Spill Protection Initiative
  • Workforce Quality Initiative
  • The Pioneering Partners Foundation
  • The Great Printers Project

Chairman Years Served
Gov. Rudy Perpich 1983
Gov. Anthony Earl 1983–1985
Gov. James R. Thompson 1985–1987
Gov. Richard Celeste 1987 - 1989
Gov. Tommy Thompson 1989–1992
Gov. George Voinovich 1992–1994
Gov. John Engler 1994–1996
Gov. Tom Ridge 1996–2001
Gov. Bob Taft* 2001–2005
Gov. Jim Doyle* 2004–2011
Gov. Ted Strickland* 2010–2011
Gov. Mitch Daniels* 2011-2013
Gov. Pat Quinn* 2011–Present
Gov. Rick Snyder* 2013-Present
  • Taft and Doyle were co-Chairs in 2004-2005[3]
  • Doyle and Strickland served as co-Chairs 2010-January 2011
  • Daniels and Quinn served as co-Chairs from January 2011-2013
  • Snyder and Quinn serve as co-Chairs from January 2013-Present


  1. ^ "History", CGLG, Retrieved March 24, 2010.
  2. ^ "Current Projects", CGLG, Retrieved March 24, 2010.
  3. ^ "Overview", CGLG, Retrieved March 24, 2010.