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Summary report on Citizens Hearings in Detroit


FROM:  Citizens Environment Alliance (CEA) 

Points and Recommendations from the 2nd Citizens Hearing on the Great
Lakes/Detroit River Area of Concern at the Lenox Centre/Detroit, July 7, 1998
As reported to the Great Lakes Mayors Conference in Windsor July 9, 1998.

1. Air deposition and water discharge issues are linked together along with
land use development and transportation.  There is a need to look at the
areas of concern as a whole ecosystem considering all the links and impacts.
An ecosystem requires an ecosystem solution.

2. Such things as chlorine free paper are within the jurisdiction and power
of municipal governments to control.

3. Zero discharge of contaminants to air sheds and watercourses is still the
goal.  Reduction and elimination of  Persistent/Bioaccumulative chemicals is
a  municipal concern.  

4. Pollution control, inspection, and monitoring is also a municipal
concern.  With current downsizing and cutbacks in resources for state and
provincial environment departments much more of these functions including
enforcement will be anticipated from local municipalities.  However,
citizens cannot ignore the fact that their tax money is going to senior
levels of govenrment for these services.

5. Contaminant emissions inventories such as  US TRI and Canadian NPRI
should also be of municipal concern.  Local initiatives with local
industries must be embarked on.  For example, Windsor Air Quality Committee
meetings with industries who impact on local neighbourhoods.  

6. Shoreline development impacts on the quality of drinking water and the
cost of quality drinking water.

7. The devolution of power and responsibility  from senior levels of
government to municipal governments is a major concern.  Resources must
follow the devolution trail.

8. Working together at the grass-roots level will and must include municipal
government departments as well as social justice, environmental justice,
environmentalists and health organizations.  Social and economic issues are
directly connected to the quality of the community environment.

9. Sustainability is the key to the future - sustainable agriculture,
sustainable consumption, and sustainable transportation.  Sustainable cities.

10. Reduce and eliminate pesticide spraying - lawns, parks

11. Write, review, understand, and enforce  municipal bylaws on
environmental and land use issues

12. Citizens must understand the nature, value, and impact of subsidies for
development projects, volunteer service organizations, and local transportation.

13. Work to improve access to and protection of local beaches and waterfront
park areas.  For example, many Detroit & area fishers come to Windsor
because of the poor access to the Detroit River on the US side.
Unfortunately, access to former public sections of the Canadian side of the
Detroit River, is also beginning to disappear.

14. Municipalities must take more responsibility in the protection of
natural wetlands and habitat within their boundaries.  What replacement % is
sufficient for wetland and habitat restoration in local deteriorated areas?

15. Contaminated sediments are a major problem for municipalities within
areas of concern.  Municipalities must work closer together with scientists,
university researchers, the public,  to achieve clean-up successes.

16. Pollution prevention is a key to reclaiming and protecting former
contaminated sediment areas.  We cannot restore degraded areas successfully
unless the taps are turned off.

17. Municipalities must have more input to trade negotiations that can and
will effect their local environments and programmes for environmental
protection, e.g. NAFTA, MAI.

18. Municipalities must accelerate storm sewer upgrades.

19. Environmental racism and environmental justice is a municipal issue.

20. Split RAPS such as the Detroit/Windsor area of concern are not
progressive or productive and are a problem that must be addressed.
Citizens must organize on both sides of the border to work for remediation,
restoration and preservation.  Citizens cannot rely on politicians or
bureaucrats any longer to do the right thing.  Promises are not action.

21. Air quality in urban areas is a major health issue.  Municipalities must
and can take action to clean up their air by enforcing existing and new bylaws.

22. In border areas such as Detroit/Windsor the transboundary flow of
information is an imperative.  Both sides of the border must know in advance
when issues such as Conners Creek will arise. 

23. Municipalities must embark on green energy development. E.g.
cogeneration, solar and wind projects along with publically acceptable
demand-side-management programmes.

24. Municipal and local health authorities should be cognizant of the latest
information on fish advisories for Great Lakes fish, particularly in their
immediate jurisdictions (harbours, rivers, lakes).    Fish is a nutritional
meal but caution must be exercised in what can and cannot be eaten safely.
In a recent fish consumption survey only 1/3 of those polled said they
checked their state or provincial fish consumption guide.

25.  The Right To Know and the Right To Act are principles that
municipalities on both sides of the border must recognize as the fundamental
right of all citizens to embrace and act upon.  Citizens in Ontario must be
protective of the Right To Know legislation that has was established in 1988
giving access to information on the use and emissions of toxic substances
into their communities.

26.  Canadian nuclear power reactors are legally discharging trituim to the
waters of the Great Lakes.  No water treatment exists that can remove
carcinogenic tritium from drinking water.  Municipalities must pressure
senior levels of government to reduce allowable levels of trituim to 100
Bq/l and a further reduction to 20 Bq/l within 5 years as recommended by a
panel of acclaimed scientists.  Currently Ontario allows a limit of 7000
Bq/l in drinking water.

The Citizens Environment Alliance in conjunction with Great Lakes United
and the Toronto Environmental Alliance wishes to thank all of you who took
the time to come to the hearings in Detroit and report on your issues,
problems and successes. 

The CEA will be seeking to network with all of you more closely in the
future.  A Detroit-Windsor Citizens meeting on the Detroit River ecosystem
is anticipated for the late fall or early winter. We will notify you early.

Great Lakes United will be reporting to both governments with a summary from
all nine Great Lakes citizens hearings in the fall.

Don't forget the CEA 1st annual State of the River Tour - September 19,
1998.  Another opportunity to network and socialize.  Leaving the foot of
Ouellette Avenue in Windsor aboard the MV Aurora Boreallis at NOON and
returning at 4:00 PM.  Tickets are $40 CDN or $28 US.  This will be a guided
tour of habitat and hot spot areas in the west and east sections of the
river.  A pasta lunch will be served, with a cash bar and a DJ.  Don't miss
it.  Reserve NOW!!! Call 519-973-1116 (Windsor) or 313-822-6118 X 2
(Detroit) for further information.

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