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UMD Professor to Chair Great Lakes Commission

Minnesota state Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth) has been elected chair of the Great Lakes Commission, a binational agency representing the region's U.S. states and Canadian provinces on matters related to the health, protection and sustainable use of the Great Lakes.

Huntley, who has chaired the commission's Minnesota delegation for the past 12 years, was elected Oct. 5 at the conclusion of the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Great Lakes Commission in Toronto. He succeeds Sam Speck, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. John Goss, director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, was elected vice chair, a post Huntley held for the past two years.

"The Great Lakes are in a crucial period right now, as we face decisions on a broad range of critical issues regarding water use, water quality, invasive species, shipping, national policy and more," Huntley said. "It's essential that the Great Lakes community speak with a single voice regarding these issues, and I'm deeply honored that my colleagues have placed me in a role to help harmonize our message as chair of the Great Lakes Commission."

U.S. Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn. 8th) congratulated Huntley upon his election.

"I have known Tom for many years, and he is a great public servant," Rep. Oberstar said. "Tom's experience as a professor, Duluth City councilor and as a Minnesota legislator has prepared him well for this job as a steward of one-fifth of all the fresh water on the face of the earth. I know he will do an excellent job in his new role with the binational Great Lakes Commission."

An associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the School of Medicine and Department of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Huntley was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1992. A former chair of the Duluth-Seaway Port Authority, a post he has held three times, he has a strong interest in maritime issues.

He is also director of institutional relations for the U-M School of Medicine; and has served on the Governor's Joint Health Care Task Force and the Minnesota Terrorism Preparedness Advisory Committee.

The Great Lakes Commission is a binational agency that promotes the orderly, integrated and comprehensive development, use and conservation of the water and related natural resources of the Great Lakes basin and St. Lawrence River. Its members include the eight Great Lakes states with associate member status for the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec. Each jurisdiction appoints a delegation of three to five members comprised of senior agency officials, legislators and/or appointees of the governor or premier.

The Commission was established by joint legislative action of the Great Lakes states in 1955 (the Great Lakes Basin Compact) and granted congressional consent in 1968. A Declaration of Partnership established associate membership for the provinces in 1999.

By Sea Grant Staff
September 2004

Return to September 2004 Seiche

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