U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Tuesday was named as a vice-chair of the U.S. Senate Great Lakes Task Force, a bipartisan working group that advocates for the protection of the Great Lakes.

As vice-chair of the task force, Klobuchar will help lead efforts to provide agency oversight and advance legislative initiatives and funding priorities. Klobuchar will join Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) as vice-chair of the task force, which is led by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

"The Great Lakes are national treasures that are vital to the economy and environment in Minnesota and our entire country," Klobuchar said, in a news release. "We need to continue enhancing the health of the Great Lakes, and that means supporting our shipping and fishing industries while pursuing policies that keep our water clean and clear. As vice-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, I'm looking forward to continuing my work with Sen. Stabenow and Sen. Kirk to help protect the Great Lakes for generations to come."

"It is my pleasure to welcome Sen. Klobuchar as the new co-vice-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force," said Stabenow. "Amy is a close friend and colleague and an effective leader who works hard to make sure our way of life in the Great Lakes basin is protected. I look forward to working with her and advancing priorities critical to keeping our Lakes safe."

"In order to end sewage dumping in the Great Lakes, the nation's greatest ecosystem and the lifeblood of the Chicagoland area, a bipartisan, united effort from Congress is needed," said Kirk. "I look forward to working with my colleagues and new task force co-vice chair Sen. Klobuchar in order to protect the lakes for generations to come."

The Senate Great Lakes Task Force was founded in the mid-1980s and is associated with the Northeast-Midwest Institute.