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America’s North Coast: A Benefit-Cost Analysis of a Program to Protect and Restore the Great Lakes

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Publication Date: September 2007

Publisher(s): Healing Our Waters -Great Lakes Coalition; Council of Great Lakes Industries

Author(s): Robert E. Litan; Soren Anderson; John C. Austin


Special Collection: The Joyce Foundation

Topic: Economics (Infrastructure)
Environment (Water, waterways, and water management)

Keywords: freshwater innovation; restoration strategy; economics; enviroment

Type: Report

Coverage: Illinois


This cost-benefit analysis shows that investing in the Great Lakes Collaboration Strategy (GLCS) has potential to economically revitalize the struggling region. It finds that the planned $26 billion, five year investment to implement the GLCS would produce $50 billion in long term economic benefits – not only paying for itself, but creating a net gain of at least $24 billion. In fact, the report states that there is potential for a new growth industry founded on freshwater innovation for heating, cooling, sanitation and food – an emerging magnet for skilled workers.

The report’s release was timed to help kick off the third annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference in Chicago. The conference, and this economics report, came at a significant time as legislation to implement the restoration strategy had been introduced in Congress.