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GLIN==> U.S. Policy Committee Announces Great Lakes Strategy 2002



"Great Lakes Strategy 2002: A Plan for the New Millennium" was
officially released today.  USEPA Administrator Christie Whitman
announced the Strategy in Muskegon, Michigan on behalf of the U.S.
Policy Committee.  She was joined by several U.S. Policy Committee
members.

In her remarks, Administrator Whitman noted that "Since President Bush
and I took office, we have been highlighting the need to use
partnerships to solve the environmental challenges we face. Thanks to
the work of a great partnership, today is an exciting day for the health
and safety of the Great Lakes.  The Great Lakes Strategy that we have
developed is a perfect example of what we can accomplish by working
together toward a common goal.  The Great Lakes are American treasures ?
home to residents from 8 states and home away from home for vacationers
and visitors from across the country.  The Great Lakes Strategy, and the
aggressive goals it sets, will provide a framework for specific actions
to protect and restore the lakes over the next several years."

"We're raising the bar because our Great Lakes deserve nothing less,"
said Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Russell
Harding.  "Reaching these bold goals demands unwavering resolve on the
part of all stakeholders.  I am confident that the past decade's
successes will inspire us to take our commitment to the next level.  The
Great Lakes are truly a global treasure and the parties represented here
today will exercise their stewardship with vigor and passion."

The Strategy presents a basin-wide vision for protecting and restoring
the Great Lakes. It identifies the major basin-wide environmental issues
in the Great Lakes and establishes common goals that Federal, State, and
Tribal agencies will work toward.  The Strategy was created to help
coordinate and streamline the efforts of the many agencies involved with
protecting the Great Lakes. It will help improve programs that fulfill
United States responsibilities described in the U.S.-Canada "Great Lakes
Water Quality Agreement."

The Strategy was developed cooperatively by the U.S. Policy Committee, a
forum of senior-level representatives from Federal, State, and Tribal
natural resource management agencies and environmental protection
agencies.  It is the culmination of a 3-year long effort, which included
an extensive public comment process.  Public workshops were held
throughout the basin ?  in Duluth, Chicago, Detroit, and Niagara Falls
and additional comments were received in response to a Federal Register
notice.  This input helped refine the document and developed a shared,
long-range vision for the Great Lakes.

The Strategy articulates a shared, long-range vision for the Great
Lakes:

  ?  The Great Lakes Basin is a healthy natural environment for wildlife
and people.
  ?  All Great Lakes beaches are open for swimming.
  ?  All Great Lakes fish are safe to eat.
  ?  The Great Lakes are protected as a safe source of drinking water.

The U.S. Policy Committee will use the Strategy to guide protection and
restoration activities over the next several years. The implementation
of the Strategy will be tracked by measuring progress toward the various
goals identified in the document. Progress will also be judged by
tracking the many specific actions that are listed. Information on
environmental progress will continue to be provided by the State of the
Lake Ecosystem Conference, Lakewide Management Plans, and other
programs.

The Strategy can be viewed online at:
http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/gls/index.html


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