Peter R. Johnson, Deputy Director
Peter Johnson serves as the Deputy Director of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, a non-partisan partnership of the Great Lakes Governors and Premiers created to advance the region’s environmental health and high-performance economy.
Peter helped facilitate the negotiation and drafting of the Great Lakes Charter Annex and served as a primary facilitator and the primary draftsman of the “Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact” and the companion cross-border Agreement. These historic accords created the legal framework for the States and Provinces to cooperatively manage future water use in the Great Lakes Basin. During that process, Peter staffed committees charged with developing the draft accords and served as primary legal advisor, addressing a wide variety of issues including: water law; international trade law; U.S. constitutional law; Tribes/First Nations issues; and, Canadian procedures and law. He also organized public and stakeholder input, and engaged in consultations with U.S. and Canadian Federal agencies.
Following the completion of the drafting of the Compact, Peter shepherded passage of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact through 16 State legislative chambers and the U.S. Congress with the support of 95% of all legislators who voted on the bill. During that process, he testified before State legislative committees, Canadian Provincial legislative and stakeholder committees and worked with Members of Congress and staff on strategy to adopt the Compact and related legislation. He also interacted with print and radio reporters as they developed stories, providing both quotes and background information. Subsequent to the passage of the Compact, he provided staff support for the newly formed Compact Council and Regional Body, also serving as corporate Secretary to the Compact Council. In this role he developed bylaws, guidance and procedures for governing operations of new multi-state and multi-national entities, and drafted more than two dozen adopted resolutions and budgets.
In addition to his work on developing and implementing the Compact, he worked to coordinate the Governors’ partnership to protect and restore the Great Lakes. This effort resulted in a Presidential Executive Order and, ultimately, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that has received over $1 billion in funding to date.
In addition to this work Peter serves as spokesman before legislative associations, legislative committees, trade associations, stakeholder groups, and organizations such as the Brookings Institution and the Joyce Foundation. He provides advice and counsel on the operation of shared trade offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, India and South Africa. To that end, he helped lead an export promotion mission to South America, during which he briefed government officials, legislators and stakeholders on policy issues. Peter also serves as general counsel on administrative, contract and compliance issues.
Prior to joining the Council, Peter practiced commercial litigation with the firm of Bischoff, Maurides & Swabowski, Ltd. Following that, Peter taught law and business at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies located in Canton, China. He also worked at Trudy Nichol and Associates, a grassroots and fundraising consulting firm. In addition, Peter has served as a professional campaign worker on two U.S. Senate races in Illinois.
He has a B.A. in Political Science from North Park University and a J.D. from Boston College Law School, and has been a member of the Illinois Bar since 1991. He is also the recipient of the 2012 Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s Caroll D. “Buzz” Besadny Award for Fostering Great Lakes Partnerships.
E-mail: pjohnson@ cglg.org