Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers

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Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers
Logo of the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.png
Logo of the organization
Abbreviation CGLSLGP (also, CGLG)
Formation 1983
Type Non-governmental organization
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Region served
Great Lakes Region and Saint Lawrence River Valley
Gov. Rick Snyder

The Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers is a North American organization led by the government chief executives from the Canadian provinces Ontario and Québec and the US states Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Through the Conference, they seek to grow the region’s economy and protect the Great Lakes. The Conference began in the 1980s as the Council of Great Lakes Governors to encourage and facilitate environmentally responsible economic development. The Council now serves as secretariat to the Governors’ Compact Council and the Governor and Premiers’ Regional Body


The Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers is an organization of the chief executives from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Québec and Wisconsin, and was created on June 12, 2015.[1][2][3][4] Through the Conference, the Governors and Premiers seek to expand the regional $5 trillion economy and protect the world’s largest system of surface fresh water.[5] The Conference builds upon over 30 years of work by the US's Council of Great Lakes Governors to encourage and facilitate environmentally responsible economic development.

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, and in 2015, the organization launched the "Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers," to signify the increasing binational cooperation. Since its inception, the Conference has led regional efforts to protect the environment and accelerate the region's economy.

The member states and provinces, marked in blue, surrounds the Great Lakes

The initial focus of the organization was biomass energy. The Conference 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 and Premiers entered into a number of agreements developed through the Conference. In 1985, the Governors and Premiers signed the Great Lakes Charter, a regional water management agreement. In 1986, the Governors signed the Toxic Substances Control Agreement, ultimately resulting in the establishment of the Great Lakes Protection Fund in 1989, the first multi-state publicly seeded foundation and trust fund dedicated to the environment.[6] The TSCA also helped launch 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 with the Premiers 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, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, India, the United Kingdom, Germany and China.[7]

In 2003, the Conference identified nine priorities to restore and protect the Great Lakes. These priorities served as the basis for the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration,[8] which was launched following a Presidential Executive Order. In 2009, President Barack Obama launched the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative which has already provided over $2 billion in federal funding to help achieve the priorities.

In 2005, the Conference 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 United States law in 2008 following approval by the state legislatures and the United States Congress.

Economic Development[edit]

Map of the Great Lakes Basin.

The Conference’s goals are to enhance competitiveness, grow the regional economy and create jobs. Ongoing initiatives include:

  • Export promotion— Managing ten export offices around the world to connect regional companies with consumers in the world’s most dynamic markets[9]
  • Maritime transportation—Striving to double maritime trade while shrinking the overall environmental impact of the region’s transportation network[10]
  • Tourism— Marketing the region’s destinations to tourists from key international markets.[11]
  • Economic Clusters—Growing regional clusters including the region’s “blue economy.”

Environmental Protection[edit]

The Conference’s goal is to restore and protect the region’s waters. Ongoing initiatives include:

  • Restoration and Protection—Spearheading a long-term, regional strategy to improve water quality with a focus on key priorities such as reducing nutrient enrichment and harmful algal blooms.[12][13][14]
  • Aquatic Invasive Species—Leading regional efforts to help combat Asian carp and other non-native aquatic species that threaten our waters.[15][16][17]
  • Water Quantity—Managing an innovative, legally binding framework to protect the region’s water supply[18][19]


Chairman Years Served
Gov. Rick Snyder* 2013–present
Gov. Pat Quinn* 2013–2015
Gov. Mitch Daniels* 2011–2013
Gov. Ted Strickland* 2010–2011
Gov. Jim Doyle* 2004–2011
Gov. Bob Taft* 2001–2005
Gov. Tom Ridge 1996–2001
Gov. John Engler 1994–1996
Gov. George Voinovich 1992–1994
Gov. Tommy Thompson 1989–1992
Gov. Richard Celeste 1987–1989
Gov. James R. Thompson 1985–1987
Gov. Anthony Earl 1983–1985
Gov. Rudy Perpich 1983
  • Snyder and Quinn served as co-Chairs from January 2013 to 2015
  • Daniels and Quinn served as co-Chairs from January 2011 to 2013
  • Doyle and Strickland served as co-Chairs from 2010 to January 2011
  • Taft and Doyle were co-Chairs in 2004–2005


External links[edit]