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E-M:/ Great Lakes Water Diversion

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

Tim Eder, NWF-Great Lakes Office asked me to post this material

CONTACT: Reg Gilbert, GLU, (716) 886-0142
Tim Eder, NWF, (734) 769-3351
Sarah Miller, CELA, (416) 960-2284
Cheryl Mendoza, LMF, (231) 722-5116
Marc Hudon, SSL, (418) 543-9681

Concerned groups challenge governments on
export and diversion of Great Lakes water

Ann Arbor, Michigan December 5 * Five Great Lakes environmental and 
community groups today called on the Great Lakes governors and premiers to 
take dramatic steps to safeguard the region from attempts to remove Great 
Lakes waters. The governors and premiers have been meeting for a year to 
outline a solution for the problem.

The five groups also released a plan, called Water Use and Ecosystem 
Restoration: An Agenda for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin. 
The plan, available at www.glu.org, recommends what governments should do 
to ensure the protection of Great Lakes water.

"Time is slipping away," declared Reg Gilbert, senior coordinator for Great 
Lakes United, a lakes coalition. "A golden opportunity to prevent export 
and diversion of Great Lakes water to the rest of the United States and the 
world is being squandered.

The governors and premiers need to reach an agreement and start to work."
Legal opinions commissioned by the states have said that making water 
conservation and environmental protection the basis of the region's water 
use law would dramatically strengthen the area's ability to defend against 
future export and diversion proposals. Otherwise, international trade and 
domestic constitutional law might limit what state and provincial 
governments can do to prevent such proposals.

"The best way to protect Great Lakes water is to assure that we use it 
sensibly and conserve it," said Tim Eder, director of the National Wildlife 
Federation's Great Lakes office. "That's what our plan calls for and what 
the governors and premiers must do to ensure that our waters are pure, 
plentiful and free enough to meet the needs of both people and wildlife."

Noted Canadian Environmental Law Association coordinator Sarah Miller, 
"After the failed 1998 Nova Group export proposal, the state, provincial 
and federal governments promised action. But almost three years later they 
have still done nothing. Our Water Use plan shows the governors, premiers, 
and our federal governments what they need to do."

The groups' suggested plan recommends that the state and provincial 
Focus on conserving water and reducing wasteful water use in the Great 
Lakes basin.

The United States and Canada have twice the per-capita water use of Europe. 
The lack of strong water conservation efforts in the area provides a very 
bad example and dramatically weakens any case the region might make to 
domestic or international trade courts that export and diversion proposals 
are harmful and unjustified.
Place a ban on transfers of water between the watersheds of the individual 
Great Lakes.

Place a moratorium on new or increased water uses in the Great Lakes and 
St. Lawrence basin, including export and diversion proposals, until a 
comprehensive environmental protection strategy for Great Lakes water uses 
has been developed and implemented.

Protect and restore the Great Lakes water system, not just fend off 
additional harm.
Involve the public in developing and implementing the new protection 
strategy and making water use decisions based on it * including allowing 
citizens to formally challenge water use decisions.

Continuously gather information on the connection between the water system 
and the life it supports and put it into a water information base that is 
understandable and useful to lay citizens.

Guarantee every individual's access to water for the basic human needs: 
drinking, cooking, and bathing.

The report also recommends that the U.S. and Canadian federal governments 
provide a constitutionally valid mechanism to enable vigorous state, 
provincial and tribal cooperation in waters protection.

"No other Great Lakes issue impassions citizens and voters more than the 
prospect of Great Lakes water being drained away," said Cameron Davis, 
executive director of the Lake Michigan Federation. "With demand for fresh 
surface water increasing around the country and the world, we need to 
practice the water conservation measures we preach."

Said Marc Hudon of Stratégies St-Laurent, "It is imperative that the 
province of Québec and the shoreline communities of the St. Lawrence River 
play a strong role in protecting Great Lakes * St. Lawrence River water 

For a copy of the plan and accompanying fact sheets, visit: www.glu.org.

Great Lakes United is a coalition of 170 organizations from the United 
States, Canada, and First Nations, working to protect and restore the Great 
Lakes * St. Lawrence River ecosystem.

Canadian Environmental Law Association, a public interest legal clinic, has 
advocated for Great Lakes protection reforms for over thirty years.

National Wildlife Federation, the largest member-supported conservation 
education and advocacy group in the United States, unites people from all 
walks of life to protect nature, wildlife and the world we all share.

Lake Michigan Federation, formed in 1970, is the oldest citizens' Great 
Lakes organization in North America. Its mission is to restore fish and 
wildlife habitat, conserve land and water, and eliminate toxins in the 
watershed of the largest lake within the United States. The federation has 
offices in Chicago and Muskegon, Michigan.

Stratégies St-Laurent is a coalition of Québec's "ZIP" committees and some 
environmental groups. ZIP committees are responsible for getting local 
authorities, industries and citizen groups working together to restore ten 
environmental problem areas identified along the St. Lawrence River.

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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