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E-M:/ Granholm calls for public comment on Great Lakes protection

Granholm and draft Great Lakes protection agreements

July 19, 2004
Contact:  Bob McCann, 517-335-7217
Ken DeBeaussaert, 517-335-4056

Governor Granholm Calls for Public Review and Comment on Great Lakes Protection Draft Agreements

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today joined seven Great Lakes governors and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec in announcing the beginning of a 90-day public review and comment period for draft agreements created to improve protection of Great Lakes waters.  

“The Great Lakes define our state, and it is critical that we protect them,” said Granholm.  “I encourage all of our citizens to examine this document and provide comments so we can be sure the final product is reflective of what is best for Michigan.”  

To facilitate comments, Governor Granholm and the Office of the Great Lakes have announced a series of public comment opportunities to be held in August and September.

The documents were drafted in response to Congress and the federal amendments made to the Water Resources Development Act of 2000.

The governors and premiers have not endorsed the draft agreements. 
The draft Annex 2001 Implementing Agreements are the result of three years of efforts by the Council of Great Lakes Governors’ Water Management Working Group to address Great Lakes Basin protection issues, including the diversion of water outside of the Basin and water uses within the Basin. 

The need for this agreement was underscored by Ken DeBeaussaert, director of Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes and a member of the Water Management Working Group.  “There are potential threats to the waters of the Great Lakes, and they promise to increase,” DeBeaussaert said.  “Our goal is to look ahead and take proactive steps to protect the Great Lakes environment for future generations.  We hope that public comment will enable us to strengthen these documents and Michigan’s position to protect against these threats.”

Public meetings and a hearing will be held throughout the state to provide the public with the opportunity to comment on these important documents.   The events have been scheduled as follows:

Public Meetings:

August 30, 2004           6:00 PM               St. Clair Shores
August 31, 2004           2:30 PM               Cheboygan
September 1, 2004         9:00 AM               Marquette
September 2, 2004        10:00 AM               Muskegon

Public Hearing:

September 14, 2004        2:00 PM               Lansing

Written comments are encouraged at any time during the 90-day public comment period through October 19.  Comments can be mailed to:

Office of the Great Lakes

Constitution Hall - 6th Floor
P.O Box 30473
525 W. Allegan Street
Lansing, MI 48909-7973

Once the review period is complete and public comments have been taken into account, the agreements will be refined and presented to the governors and premiers for their evaluation and approval. 

Specific measures in the draft implementing agreements include:

• a requirement that diversion proposals brought forward for joint review by the Great Lakes states and provinces need unanimous support for approval;

• a commitment to use a uniform, resource-based decision-making standard in evaluating future proposals for new or increased water uses;

• a commitment to a collaborative decision-making process for future proposals for regionally significant new or increased water uses;

• a requirement that all future or new increased diversions and regionally significant water uses in the Great Lakes Basin result in an improvement to the Basin’s ecosystem; and

• a commitment that conservation and information programs will be put in place and maintained in all the Great Lakes states and provinces;

The Office of the Great Lakes has posted information on the draft Annex 2001 Implementing Agreements on their web site, including a message board for the public posting of comments related

to the draft agreements.  It is located at:  http://www.michigan.gov/Annex2001Process.

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Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039 
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com