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U.S./Canada "Virtual Elimination" agreement
- Subject: U.S./Canada "Virtual Elimination" agreement
- From: email@example.com
- Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:41:44 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:15:12 -0400
From: GROUP PRESS 202-260-4355 <PRESS@epamail.epa.gov>
To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: PR U.S., CANADA MOVE TO ELIMINATE TOXICS IN GREAT LAKES
X-Listserver-Version: 6.0(EPA) -- UNIX ListServer by Anastasios Kotsikonas
X-Comment: U.S. EPA Press Releases
FOR RELEASE: MONDAY, APRIL 7, 1997
U.S., CANADA MOVE TO ELIMINATE TOXICS IN GREAT LAKES
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M.
Browner and Canadian Minister of the Environment Sergio Marchi today
agreed to a milestone plan to protect public health by virtually
eliminating persistent toxic substances from the Great Lakes by the
year 2006, as promised by President Clinton and Prime Minister
Chretien in February l995. The agreement between the two
environmental leaders was signed today at a ceremony in Washington,
D.C., and is the first time specific reduction targets for toxic
pollutants have been jointly set by both countries.
Browner and Marchi signed two additional agreements to expand
efforts to control transboundary air emissions and to cooperate in a
number of research and development activities.
The Great Lakes contain 18 percent of the world's fresh surface
water. They are home to 33 million people in the U.S. and Canada,
nearly half of whom draw their drinking water from the Lakes.
Browner hailed the Great Lakes agreement, saying, "This
agreement to virtually eliminate major toxic substances from the Great
Lakes is an important step forward in protecting the health of
American and Canadian citizens living in the region. Pollution knows
no boundaries, and therefore it is vital that our two countries
jointly identify the challenges, set common goals and work together to
restore the water quality of these magnificent lakes we share."
Canadian Minister Marchi said, "Our citizens breathe the same
air, drink the same water, and share many species of wildlife. We
also share the same environmental problems. Under the agreements
reached today, Canada and the United States will work together to
better protect our water, air and wildlife."
The presence of toxic contaminants in the Great Lakes is a
significant concern. Despite their great depth and size, the Great
Lakes are particularly vulnerable to toxic contaminants because the
contaminants remain in the system for many years. Many of these
pollutants are a serious threat, even in small amounts, because they
are long-lasting and bioaccumlate, becoming
more concentrated as they move through the food chain from plants to
fish to wildlife and people.
The plan to virtually eliminate identified persistent toxic
substances in the Great Lakes, especially those which accumulate and
persist in the environment for decades, is based primarily on
voluntary pollution prevention activities, but builds on existing
Canadian and U.S. regulatory programs.
In the United States, the goals for mercury, PCBs and dioxin are
national in scope because these toxics are primarily airborne and even
sources far outside the basin can reach the Great Lakes through
atmospheric long-range transport.
The strategy sets milestones to be achieved from l997 to 2006.
Among the U.S. milestones, the strategy calls for a 50 percent
reduction of mercury uses nationally; a 90 percent reduction
nationally of high-level PCBs used in electrical equipment; a 75
percent reduction in total releases of dioxins and furans from human
activity sources, such as incinerators, to apply to aggregate releases
to the air nationwide and of releases to the waters of the Great
Lakes; and confirmation that there are no releases of five
bioaccumulative pesticides: chlordane, aldrin/dieldrin, DDT, mirex and
EPA, Environment Canada, industry, labor, states, provincial,
local and tribal governments, environmentalists and affected citizens
will implement the strategy and regularly assess progress.
Pollutants enter the Great Lakes from the air, stirred-up bottom
sediments, urban and agricultural runoff, hazardous waste sites,
spills and industrial and municipal wastewater.
Toxic contaminants are present in the Great Lakes at unacceptably
high levels, making some fish unsafe to eat, presenting a continued
human health risk and suppressing the economic potential of the
fisheries' industry. Today, there are fish consumption advisories in
all of the Great Lakes states, based primarily on PCBs, mercury and
Since the Boundary Waters Treaty of l909, the U.S. and Canada
have formally cooperated to address water quality problems within the
Great Lakes basin. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, first
signed in l972 and last amended in l987, has served as a management
framework for achieving environmental results and for protecting and
restoring the ecosystem.
In March l995, the Clinton Administration announced a far-
reaching plan in partnership with the Great Lakes states to adopt
consistent water quality standards in the U.S. across the Great Lakes
to help restore the health and the economy of the lakes. Today's
action advances that commitment.
Today's two additional signings call for increasing bilateral
cooperation on transboundary air pollution and cooperation in
environmental research and technology.
The United States and Canada are increasing efforts under a l991
agreement to address air quality issues, notably ground level ozone
(smog) and particulate matter (soot). To cope with both pollution
problems, the environmental agencies, EPA and Environment Canada, will
examine how emission management mechanisms, including innovative
pollution control strategies, could be applied to our common boundary.
A 1985 memorandum of understanding on cooperative research and
the sharing of scientific and technical information has been updated
to promote and facilitate information exchange of research results and
technical data; to provide for joint projects, thus avoiding
duplication and associated costs; and to cooperate in the development
of innovative ideas and approaches to environmental problems. The
environmental agencies will meet in September to initiate the MOU.
Alex J. Sagady & Associates Email: email@example.com
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39 East Lansing, MI 48826-0039
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