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E-M:/ NWF on Great Lakes Proprosal
- Subject: E-M:/ NWF on Great Lakes Proprosal
- From: "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 14:08:13 -0400
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <email@example.com>
Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
FOR PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY
THIS INFORMATION IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 9:00 AM MONDAY, JUNE 19, 2000
Contact: Brenda Box, (703) 790-4089
Becky Lentz (734) 769-3351
NWF REACTS TO MICHIGAN GREAT LAKES PROPOSAL
One Small Step for people and wildlife
Michigan Governor John Engler plans to release a proposal that would, among
other things, keep Great Lakes waters in the Great Lakes. It would require
those who would withdraw Great Lakes water to prove that their proposal
will create a net benefit to the Great Lakes ecosystem. While the proposal
is a good start, it suffers from severe flaws.
Tim Eder, Director, NWF's Great Lakes Natural Resource Center and James
Goodheart, Executive Director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs,
Inc. will be available to comment on the proposal in a telephone press
briefing Monday, June 19, at 1:00 PM EDT. Space is limited. To participate
in the briefing, contact Brenda Box: (703) 790-4089, email@example.com, or Becky
Lentz: (734) 769-3351, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tim Eder can be reached at 734-769-3351,
Jim Goodheart can be reached at 517-371-1041
Hold For Release: Contact: NEWSBecky Lentz, (734) 769-3351
10 A.M. EST June 19, 2000 Brenda Box,703) 790-4089
Jim Goodheart (517) 371-1041
Multi-State "Agreement" on Great Lakes
a Step Forward, But Has Flaws
ANN ARBOR, MI -- A purported "agreement in principal" for governing the
withdrawal of water from the Great Lakes falls short of its
well-intentioned purpose of protecting the Lakes, according to the nation's
largest conservation group. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) says the
draft document, released today by Michigan Governor John Engler, needs more
specific safeguards to keep the world's greatest supply of fresh water from
being depleted by bordering states and provinces or diverted beyond even
the U.S. and Canada.
"Governor Engler is offering a good start, and he is to be commended for
his leadership in making this draft plan public - but it is only a start,"
said Tim Eder, director of NWF's Great Lakes office. "Other states and
provinces need to insist that the final plan ensure that Great Lakes water
is used wisely in this region so we can be sure it won't be wasted by the
rest of the world."
"As written, the draft could well allow our water to be exchanged for
ill-defined 'benefits' without proving first that a new withdrawal or
diversion is even needed.
We know Michigan doesn't want to put the Great Lakes up for grabs to the
highest bidder so they need to fix this plan," added Eder. "The standard
put forth in the draft plan for evaluating proposals to withdraw or divert
water should require that any applicant must first prove they have used
water conservation practices to their fullest extent, and that they have
exhausted all possible alternatives to withdrawing additional Great Lakes
water. Only then should the plan discuss compensation and benefits."
The resolution released by Governor Engler includes language requiring
those who would withdraw Great Lakes water to prove that their proposal,
together with compensation measures, would "create a net benefit to the
Great Lakes ecosystem." But the idea of a net benefit is not based on
specific goals or measurable benchmarks. And the draft plan fails to stress
the fact that the Great Lakes can be harmed by water use from within the
region as well as by diversions to far off places.
"The first duty is to protect the health of the Lakes * and with it the
people and wildlife that depend on them * and that means using common sense
water conservation measures, " said Jim Goodheart, executive director of
the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, NWF's largest state affiliate.
Goodheart added, "we can't expect others to conserve our resource if we
don't do it ourselves."
In fact, under the U.S. Constitution and global trade agreements, rules
governing the sale of Great Lakes water outside the Great Lakes region can
be no more stringent than those applied within it. That makes a multi-state
plan without regional conservation measures all but useless.
"The Governor's plan is like going straight to the dessert bar without
eating our vegetables first," said Eder. "Just like eating right, applying
conservation principles to water uses here at home will help build a
healthier, stronger system."
Once local water use is addressed, the plan's provisions for long-distance
diversions can also be beefed up. "A key premise of the Governor's plan
should be to keep Great Lakes water where it belongs - here in the Great
Lakes region," said Goodheart. "The goal must be to prevent any new or
increased diversions that would harm the ecosystem except in the most rare
of circumstances, and when no possible alternative exists.
Just like medical doctors, our credo should be 'first do no harm.'"
NWF and MUCC agreed that the idea of not allowing any new withdrawals that
don't result in an "improvement" to the resource is a laudable concept, if
it is prefaced with conservation and prevention first. "We look forward to
working with Michigan and the other states and Ontario to help define
improvement and to help set benchmarks for restoring and protecting vital
freshwater resources. Governor Engler has done us a service by opening the
dialogue and we look forward to working with him and his fellow Governors
and Premiers to refine this draft," said Eder.
The nation's largest member-supported conservation advocacy and education
group, the National Wildlife Federation unites people from all walks of
life to protect nature, wildlife, and the world we all share. The
Federation has educated and inspired families to uphold America's
conservation tradition since 1936. NWF's Great Lakes office has been a key
player in protection of the Lakes from pollution, over-development and
MUCC is the NWF's largest state affiliate with over 100,000 individual
members and 500 affiliated clubs. MUCC is committed to the conservation and
enhancement of Michigan's natural resources through education, advocacy and
promotion of quality outdoor recreation experiences. Recognized as the
voice of Michigan's sportsmen and women, MUCC advocates for common-sense,
scientifically based policy decisions regarding our natural resources.
Becky Lentz, Outreach Manager
National Wildlife Federation
Great Lakes Natural Resource Center
506 E. Liberty Street, 2nd Floor
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2210
ph 734/769-3351 fx 734/769-1449
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