Canadian Environmental Law Association ** Great Lakes
United ** Ecojustice **
October 3, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Urged to Sign Pledge for a Toxics-Free Great Lakes
Toronto - Yesterday,
environmental groups asked the leaders of the federal parties to put their name
to a pledge to make toxic pollution in the Great Lakes
region a top priority. The pledge comes in the wake of several actions in the U.S. to address the Great Lakes, including new
funds to clean up contaminated sediment and restore habitat and Democratic
candidate Barack Obama's plan to commit $5 billion to Great Lakes clean up and
establishing a Great Lakes "czar" to
Great Lakes are a defining feature of Canada's landscape, its history,
and its future," said Fe de Leon, researcher at the Canadian Environmental
Law Association. "All Party leaders need to step up to the plate to protect
the Great Lakes from toxic pollution. Great Lakes actions to date have been mediocre and do
very little to protect and prevent toxic pollution. The status quo will mean
that our Great Lakes water, fish, birds, water
and residents will feel the impacts of pollution for many years to come."
Pledge for a Toxics-Free Great Lakes establishes the first steps for cleaning
up the Great Lakes. The heartland of Canada's manufacturing and agricultural sectors,
the Great Lakes region has had to deal with an
onslaught of pollution, causing serious harm to this fragile ecosystem.
federal governments have closed their eyes to the toxic legacy that is
polluting these waters, stifling communities, and devastating plant and animal
habitat." said John Jackson, Director of Clean Production and Toxics at
Great Lakes United. "This pledge is about refocusing attention on the Great Lakes."
the pledge asks leaders to:
Support the vision of the Great
Lakes Water Quality Agreement, signed by Canada
and the United States,
to work toward the elimination of persistent toxic substances in the Great
Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin.
Support the call for zero
discharge of persistent toxic chemicals and other toxic substances in the Great
Lakes-St. Lawrence River ecosystem by:
Establishing a phase out and
elimination strategy for toxic substances.
Applying a reverse onus that will
require chemical users, manufacturers, importers and sellers to demonstrate
safety of chemicals before use. o Assessing and implementing safe alternatives.
Applying the precautionary
By 2012, complete all actions need
for delisting 10 Areas of Concern, and all actions completed for the remaining
Areas of Concerns in Canada
Create a Great Lakes Clean Water
Infrastructure fund to upgrade and 'green' municipal wastewater and stormwater
Past progress in addressing problems,
like phosphorous, PCBs, and mercury, came because Canada
and the United States
worked together to find solutions. The driving force was the Great Lakes Water
Quality Agreement, a pact between the two countries to maintain the health of
Great Lakes are shared between eight states, a
province and two countries. Saving them is not a partisan issue, but it
requires the attention of all governments and a commitment from all
leaders," said Elaine MacDonald, Senior Scientist with Ecojustice.
reality is, the longer we wait, the worse the problem gets, and the more
expensive become the solutions."
the pledge and background information, or for updates on who has signed, visit www.glu.org.
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Director of Clean Production and Toxics
Great Lakes United
Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal)
email@example.com | www.glu.org
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