On 5 September 2007, the Brookings Institution released a report suggesting that the ecological restoration of the Great Lakes would create $50 billion in economic benefit for the region. The report, “Healthy Waters, Strong Economy: The Benefits of Restoring the Great Lakes Ecosystem,” written by a team of scientists and economists provides a cost-benefit analysis of cleaning up the Great Lakes. They concluded that a $26 billion investment in restoration would result in at least a $24 billion net long-term economic gain from tourism, fishing, recreation and home values. “That’s a solid return on investment that’s good for the Great Lakes, good for the economy, and good for the millions of people and businesses that rely on the lakes,” said co-author Paul N. Courant, professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan. “The cost-benefit analysis re-affirms that the health of the Great Lakes powerfully affects the health and prosperity of our communities.”
The restoration funds would be used for activities including modernizing wastewater treatment systems, halting the spread of invasive species, restoring wildlife habitat, and removing contaminated sediment. As noted in the press release accompanying the report, the House of Representatives and Senate each have legislation addressing Great Lakes clean-up pending in committee.
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