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GLIN==> Praise and concern: Governors and water diversions
- Subject: GLIN==> Praise and concern: Governors and water diversions
- From: Reg Gilbert <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 13:47:33 -0800
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- List-Name: GLIN-Announce
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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
"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
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
"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
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.
(716) 886-0142, fax: -0303
Great Lakes United
Buffalo State College, Cassety Hall
1300 Elmwood Ave.
Buffalo, NY, 14222
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