[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Press Release: Great Lakes Spared From Coast Guard Live Fire Plan



For Immediate Release

December 18, 2006

 

Contact:

               Hugh McDiarmid Jr., Michigan Environmental Council: 517-487-9539

 

Coast Guard Suspends Great Lakes Live Fire Plan

Unregulated machine gun training would have introduced toxic lead, other hazardous materials into world’s greatest freshwater resource

 

 

The United States Coast Guard today announced the indefinite suspension of its proposed live fire machine gun training exercises on the Great Lakes. The decision helps protect the world’s greatest freshwater resource from unregulated amounts of lead and other toxic materials that would have been introduced by the training.

 

“We welcome the Coast Guard’s decision to discard what seemed a poorly conceived plan that had few environmental safeguards and inadequate scientific scrutiny,” said Hugh McDiarmid Jr., spokesman for the Michigan Environmental Council.

 

“Any activity that introduces cancer-causing neurotoxins like lead into the aquatic environment needs to be exhaustively scrutinized. Possible alternatives should be considered, and safeguards created to minimize potential ecosystem disruptions. This plan had none of that.”

 

Coast Guard Rear Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr. recognized the need for better environmental safeguards in a statement released today. If the plan is reconsidered at a later date, he said, it will examine environmental concerns and pursue “environmentally-friendly alternatives to the lead ammunition we currently use.”

 

The Great Lakes contain almost 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water. The basin is home to more than 40 million people who rely on the lakes and their connecting waters for drinking, recreation, industry and tourism.

 

The Coast Guard training would have discharged roughly 7,000 pounds of lead annually into the lakes, close to twice as much as is discharged to surface waters annually from all regulated Michigan sources combined.

 

The Michigan Environmental Council represents more than 70 environmental and public interest organizations with a combined membership of more than 250,000 Michigan residents. It provides research, communications, technical and political support to maintain a strong environmental voice at the local, state and federal levels.

 

###