Biden nominates Metro Detroit attorney to chair International Joint Commission

Carol Thompson
The Detroit News

President Joseph Biden nominated Southfield attorney Gerald Acker to be commissioner and chair of the International Joint Commission, a binational group that regulates uses of the Great Lakes and other waters shared by the U.S. and Canada.

Acker has worked in Michigan law and policy for 40 years, the White House said in a Tuesday announcement. He co-founded and is managing partner of Goodman Acker PC, which specializes in dispute resolutions between individuals and insurance companies.

Gerald Acker, a longtime Michigan attorney and founder and managing partner of Goodman Acker P.C. President Joseph Biden nominated Acker to the International Joint Commission on May 3, 2022.

Acker has served on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan board of directors, the Mediation Tribunal Association of Wayne County board of directors, the Hebrew Free Loan Association board of directors and chaired the State Bar of Michigan's Attorney Grievance Commission. He was president of the Michigan Association of Justice in 2009.

Acker has a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University. He is married to Caryn, a retired teacher. He has two children, including University of Michigan Board of Regents Chair Jordan Acker.

The IJC is guided by the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty, in which the U.S. and Canada agreed not to pollute the boundary waters to an extent that would injure the health or property of the other country. Much of the commission's work involves cleaning and preventing pollution on the Great Lakes, although it oversees the St. Croix River between Maine and New Brunswick, the Rainy River along Minnesota's northern border and the Red River, which runs from along the borders of North Dakota and Minnesota to Winnipeg.

The IJC's Great Lakes Water Quality Board recently released a series of recommendations to improve the safety of nuclear plant decommissioning throughout the Great Lakes.

More:Why shoreline nuclear power plants pose problem for Great Lakes

The commission oversees projects that impact water levels and flows such as dams and diversions from the lakes. It also  investigates and recommends solutions to transboundary issues. 

The U.S. president and Canadian cabinet each appoint three of the six IJC commissioners, with one commissioner from each country serving as a chair. The U.S. Senate must confirm the president's nominee.

The U.S.' current chair is Jane Corwin, a former member of the New York State Assembly who has been chair since 2019.