Governor Rick Snyder gets huge kudos for tapping Jon Allan as the next director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes. Jon will succeed Patty Birkholz, a long-time champion of Great Lakes protection who earned a reputation for putting environmental policy before partisan politics.
Jon Allan will take a leave of at least one year to serve the state as an “Executive on Loan” from Consumers Energy, where he is currently the director of environmental policy and intergovernmental affairs. The Governor’s press release sums up Jon’s experience and education, and lists some of his many contributions to state and regional environmental policy.
I’ve known Jon for a decade, going back to our work together negotiating the Great Lakes Compact. As much as any other single person, Jon deserves the credit for taking the concept of an interstate Great Lakes water agreement and making it a policy reality. When negotiations between the states, environmental groups, and industry stalled, Jon (representing industry) and I (representing environmental groups) developed a compromise proposal for the states that gave the negotiations new life and eventually became the framework for the Great Lakes Compact. Jon’s work on the Great Lakes Compact negotiations is just one example of how he brings science, environmental vision, and pragmatic solutions to policy problems. I also want to say that he is a genuinely great guy, and his integrity and character are just two of the many assets he’ll bring to the new job.