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GLIN==> Praise and concern: Governors and water diversions



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Reg Gilbert, GLU, (716) 886-0142
Sarah Miller, CELA, (416) 960-2284
Cheryl Mendoza, LMF, (231) 722-5116
Marc Hudon, SSL, (418) 543-9681

Groups worry about new rules allowing diversions from Great Lakes

Buffalo, New York, December 14 -- Four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River 
groups welcomed today's announcement by the governors of the Great Lakes 
states soliciting public comment on their statement of intent to amend the 
1985 Great Lakes Charter to protect the region from export and diversion of 
Great Lakes water.

But the groups were seriously concerned that the statement contained a huge 
loophole making it easier to allow new diversions of water from the Great 
Lakes.

"The Annex 2001 has a number of laudable elements," declared Reg Gilbert, 
senior coordinator of Great Lakes United, "but it has a number of very 
serious problems that must be corrected before the annex is signed by the 
governors and premiers."

Great Lakes United, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, the Lake 
Michigan Federation, and Stratégies St-Laurent praised the Annex 2001 
statement of principles for incorporating many of the recommendations 
suggested by Great Lakes environmental groups in recent years.

1.	Promoting Great Lakes basin-wide water conservation
2.	Promising a basin-wide standard for judging proposed water use projects 
so that they have no significant impact on the environment
3.	Promising a plan for actually improving the basin's water system.
4.	Allowing public comment on the statement before it is signed next spring.

But the groups were concerned that the Annex 2001 statement of principles 
establishes a precedent-setting standard for allowing certain diversions 
under a million gallons per day with less review than currently required. 
The pertinent language of  the statement suggests the states might even be 
giving up their current right to veto such diversions under U.S. laws.

"Rather than opening a precedent-setting window for new diversions, the 
states should be putting a moratorium on all diversions until they have a 
protection plan in place," declared Sarah Miller, a coordinator with the 
Canadian Environmental Law Association. "And the states should restate the 
language of this document to make it absolutely clear that they are not 
giving up their veto rights."

The groups were also concerned that the Annex 2001 statement of principles:

1.	Seems to lack substantial support by the Canadian provinces, which will 
be indispensable for effective protection of the Great Lakes waters in the 
long term. The perspectives of the Canadian provinces must be fully 
included before Annex 2001 is finalized

2.	Fails to follow the example of the provinces and the recommendations of 
the International Joint Commission and immediately impose a moratorium on 
new or increased water uses in the Great Lakes basin, including export and 
diversions proposals, until the planned binding agreement to protect the 
region's waters is in place.

3.	Promises only to consult the Canadian provinces on U.S. diversion 
proposals. If the states are unwilling to impose a moratorium on new 
diversion proposals, they should immediately set an example for 
cross-border cooperation by informally facilitating a provincial veto over 
proposed diversions until a formal mechanism can be designed

4.	Makes no mention of the critical role of the U.S. and Canadian federal 
governments in helping the states and provinces work together, and ignores 
the important role of the First Nations and tribes in protecting Great 
Lakes water from export and diversion. Like the process envisioned by the 
proposed Annex 2001 for state and provincial negotiation of a binding 
agreement, a treaty or other agreement between the U.S. and Canadian 
federal governments will be a lengthy process and should be gin as soon as 
possible

5.	Fails to reaffirm a commitment made by the states and provinces in the 
1985 Great Lakes Charter to create an overall  basinwide strategy (rather 
than the proposed Annex 2001's  project-by-project "standard") for 
conserving and protecting Great Lakes basin waters. The region will not be 
fully protected from the consequences of wasteful water use, nor past 
damage to the Great Lakes basin water system successfully repaired, without 
such an overall strategy.

6.	Promises only a very general "participation" by the public in creating 
the specifics of the binding agreement that will follow signing of Annex 
2001. The states and provinces should specify an ongoing role for 
representatives of the public in the planned negotiations among the states 
and provinces to create a binding agreement

7.	Lays out a three-year timetable to complete a process already committed 
to by the states and provinces fifteen years ago in the 1985 Great Lakes 
Charter. The states and provinces should complete their work as soon as 
possible, and a two-year timetable should be feasible.

"I am very concerned at the absence of Ontario and Québec in the release of 
this statement," declared Marc Hudon," president of Stratégies St-Laurent. 
"Full participation by Canada's provinces is essential for protecting the 
Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River from export, diversion and many 
other threats."

"The real danger right now is not from one big pipeline," said Cheryl 
Mendoza, a project manger with the Lake Michigan Federation. "The real 
danger now is from the combined effect of proposals like that of the 
Perrier corporation in Michigan and elsewhere to withdraw water from the 
Great Lakes basin in numerous smaller projects that fall under the minimum 
threshold."

For more information, see fact sheets and Water Use and Ecosystem 
Restoration, a document of steps recommended this month by environmental 
groups to the governors and premiers for protecting the Great Lakes from 
export and diversion, at www.glu.org .

Great Lakes United is a coalition of 170 organizations from the United 
States, Canada, and First Nations, working to protect and restore the Great 
Lakes - St. Lawrence River ecosystem.

Canadian Environmental Law Association, a public interest legal clinic, has 
advocated for Great Lakes protection reforms for over thirty years.

Lake Michigan Federation, formed in 1970, is the oldest citizens' Great 
Lakes organization in North America.  Its mission is to restore fish and 
wildlife habitat, conserve land and water, and eliminate toxins in the 
watershed of the largest lake within the United States. The federation has 
offices in Chicago and Muskegon, Michigan.

Stratégies St-Laurent is a coalition of Québec's "ZIP" committees and some 
environmental groups. ZIP committees are responsible for getting local 
authorities, industries and citizen groups working together to restore ten 
environmental problem areas identified along the St. Lawrence River.

_____________________________

Reg Gilbert
Senior Coordinator

reg@glu.org
www.glu.org

(716) 886-0142, fax: -0303

Great Lakes United
Buffalo State College, Cassety Hall
1300 Elmwood Ave.
Buffalo, NY, 14222

______________________________



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