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E-M:/ Great Lakes: Summer of Love

Enviro-Mich message from "Rita Jack" <rita.jack@sierraclub.org>

Hello Michigan:

Larry Cosentino writes about the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Basin Water
Resources Compact and Agreement drafts, and the Great Lakes Restoration -
and how you can participate in the process.  See his excellent story at

-Rita Jack
Rita Jack
Water Sentinels Project, Michigan Sierra Club
tel:  517-484-2372

Make all Michigan's waters fishable and swimmable.

The Great Lakes' summer of love...and fear
Lansing City Pulse - Lawrence Cosentino
(Snipped, see URL above)

This summer, the tens of millions who live in the Great Lakes basin might as
well save their eight bucks. The entire region, with Michigan at the center,
is in the midst of an ecological and political drama that dwarfs the
biggest-budget blockbuster. 

Rescued from the brink of doom by the first environmental awakening of the
1960s and ?70s, the Great Lakes now face a redoubled array of threats old
and new. In response, an unprecedented coalition of private and public
entities are mounting a huge rescue effort, with two sweeping and ambitious
save-the-lakes initiatives unveiled for public comment in the past month.

An official public comment period is not the stuff of gripping cinema, but
the coming months mark a crucial period for these fledgling rescue efforts.
>From now until summer?s end, a potentially vast public base of
water-drinkers, air-breathers, swimmers, scenery-beholders, farmers,
industrial workers, fishermen and hundreds of other Lakes lovers will have a
chance to shape these initiatives, see to it that politicians fund them and
generally make them stick. 

If these efforts wither on the vine, the entire region faces a grim
scenario, according to the representatives of eight Great Lakes states,
Ontario and Quebec, tribal leaders, environmental and sportsmen?s groups,
and dozens of other stakeholders who hammered out these two documents.

(snipped, see URL above)

Blue-water memories

"I don?t know how the planets aligned to make this happen, but this is a
momentous summer." 

It?s the evening of July 11, and Rita Jack is addressing a small but intense
knot of summer home owners, anglers, beachcombers, water-law wonks and other
assorted Great Lakes groupies at a second-floor conference room of the
downtown Lansing Center. Jack is water sentinels project director of the
Mackinac Chapter of the Sierra Club, and her medieval-sounding job title
draws a few smiles as she steps before the group. 

(snipped, see URL above)

Though there?s a lot of ground to cover, Jack senses it?s not time for
charts and numbers yet. For many, the primary appeal of the Great Lakes will
always be emotional. At her urging, audience members turn to each other,
church-style, and swap stories about favorite moments under the big blue
horizon ? skipping stones on Lake Michigan, braving icy plunges into
Superior, sunset-gazing, kayaking, fishing. Playing the good cop in what
would prove to be a bruising environmental workover, Jack sways like
enthusiastic beach grass as she listens to the memories. "What this is all
about," she declares at length, "is our opportunity this summer to voice
what we want to have happen to the lakes."

(snipped, see URL above)

Finally, Clift brings the evening?s discussion full circle with his own
summation of this tangled legal-political-environmental knot. "When you talk
to most people, what it really comes down to is: Can I drink it? Can I swim
in it? Can I feed the fish I caught in it to my family? That?s how water
affects our lives.

"I want to be able to drink the water and not think about buying bottled
water. I want to be able to swim without wondering whether we had a
rainstorm in the last two days, and the beach is full of e. coli.

(snipped, see URL above)

In the end, say all the speakers at Monday?s meeting, it?s really up to the
voters and taxpayers, not the big shots.

How to throw your 2 cents into the Lakes (figuratively, of course)

Public comment period for the draft Strategy to Restore and Protect the
Great Lakes, released July 7 by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, ends
Sept. 9. 

The plan primarily addresses industrial pollution, release of sewage into
the lakes, habitat destruction, invasive species and other environmental

The GLRC solicits comments on any aspect of the plan, and encourages people
to express their priorities among the problems it addresses.

View the plan and submit comments at http://www.glrc.us

Send written comments to the Environmental Protection Agency?s Great Lakes
National Program Office: USEPA-GLNPO, 77 W. Jackson Blvd. (G-17J), Chicago,
Ill. 60604

The strategic plan will be finalized and released on Dec. 12.

The GLRC Web site will also announce public hearings to be held this summer
throughout the Great Lakes area, including Lansing, where official comments
can be made in person.

Also, learn more about the plan and hearings at


Public comment on the new draft Great Lakes Basin Water Resources Compact,
released June 30, ends Aug. 29.

This plan primarily addresses water use and conservation, including legal
protection of the lakes from outside diversion.

Public hearings will be held throughout the state this summer, including one
in Lansing at 1:30 p.m. Aug.23. in the Lake Ontario conference room of the
Michigan Library and Historical Center, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing.

For more information, contact Alliance for the Great Lakes at (616) 850-0745
or e-mail Cynthia Mendoza at cmendoza@greatlakes.org

See also http://www.greatlakes.org, http://www.nwf.org/greatlakes, and 


Public hearings on how Michigan should regulate public water use will be
held this summer, to be announced by Sen. Nancy Burkholz, R-Saugatuck,
chairwoman of the state Senate?s Natural Resources Committee.

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