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

Great Lakes Citizens Hearings in Detroit/Windsor

July 3/1998
Citizens Environment Alliance/Windsor & Detroit

Great lakes Citizens Hearings Coming to Detroit-WindsorTuesday July 7, 5:00
PM,  at the Lenox Centre in Detroit.  On Tuesday July 7 citizens from around
the Great Lakes basin and Detroit-Windsor will be convening at the Lenox
Centre in east Detroit to discuss the health of the Great Lakes and the
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the US and Canada.   In 1986,
the organization Great Lakes United,  an umbrella group for 180
environmental organizations round the basin held similar hearings.  Now in
1998 they are doing it again in conjunction with many such groups.  The
hearings in Detroit-Windsor are being organized by the Citizens Environment
Alliance (CEA)  in Windsor and Detroit.  

In this time of cutbacks and downsizing citizens need to know that a strong
citizens movement is fighting the trend to further deterioration of
legislation and agreements that have been put in place to protect the Lakes.
Every ten years the US and Canada through the International Joint Commission
review the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.  This year it is being
reviewed once again.   
Environmentalists from around the Lakes are adamant that they do not want to
see the Agreement reopened.  This could lead to wholesale weakening of the
original intent of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.   Citizens are
arguing that both countries are reluctant to meet the obligations and
principles of the Agreement,  instead they are seeing voluntary agreements
between industries and governments,  and calls for more economic growth from
Great Lakes Mayors,  instead of  growth that is sustainable.  There are 42
areas of concern in the Great Lakes that have pollution hotspots such as
contaminated sediments,  loss of habitat  and continuing discharges to water
and emissions to air.  All of of these areas still have significant
historical and current pollution problems that must be addressed now.  

Conners Creek coal-fired power plant is a case in point.  Not only will this
plant increase air deposition of particulate and mercury to the Detroit
River, Lake St.Clair,  and its tributaries, but it will also discharge
effluent to the River with a permit that was created in 1979 on the advice
of 1969 data.  Not a good way to move into the next millennium.

The hearings are intended to give all citizens a chance to bring forward
their hopes, experiences, and ideas about improving the quality life around
the Great Lakes.  The hearings will be putting forward a positive agenda for
citizens action regarding binational networking and environmental justice.
Resolutions from the July 7 hearings will be presented to the Great Lakes
Mayors Conference in Windsor July 9.  

Citizens pressure must be consolidated to force political action from both
the US and Canada to get on with the restoration,  protection and
enhancement of the boundary waters of the Great Lakes.  "The world contains
no other water  thoroughfare comparable with the highway leading from the
Gulf of St. Lawrence to the head of Lake Superior.,"  as alluded to in the
1918 Final Report of the International Joint Commission on the Boundary
Waters Reference,  which is the predecessor of the current Great Lakes Water
Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada.   

While nature left comparatively little for humans to do in adapting these
waters to commercial use,  humans have failed to recognize in the Great
Lakes that everything in nature has to go somewhere, everything in nature is
connected, and that eventually nature knows best.  The waters of the Great
Lakes now contain all the pollution, discharges and effluent of our past
commercial successes, and environmental indiscretions, it is now time to pay
nature back by restoring the Lakes to greatness.

This fall Great Lakes United will be bringing a "Citizens Agenda for
Protecting the Great Lakes Report"  to the Governments.

The hearings start at 5:00 PM at the Lenox Centre in Detroit just west of
the Conners Creek Power Plant, east Jefferson at Dickerson and right to the
Lenox Centre on the shores of the Detroit River. A distinguished panel of
peers will hear citizens testimony.    Everyone is welcome to come and speak
and network.  Senior governments, scientists, municipal councillors,  and
media have been invited.
**Citizens Environment Alliance  and Great Lakes United can be available for
MEDIA interviews regarding the Citizen Hearings by calling:  Margaret
Wooster (GLU) at 716-886-0142, Pegg Roberts (CEA-Detroit ) at 313-822-6118,
Rick Coronado (CEA-Windsor) 519-973- 1116, or Shelley Petrie (TEA Toronto)
at 416-596-0660

Windsor & Area Social Justice & Ecological Network
PO Box 548, Windsor, ON  N9A 6M6
Voice:  519-973-1116  Fax 519-973-8360
E-mail:  riccawu@mnsi  (GreenPlanet)
web page: http://www.mnsi.net/~cea