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GLIN==> Great Lakes in Jeopardy, Legislators Warn

Posted on behalf of Sara Jackson <sjackson@nwf.org>


Immediate Release:  March 3, 2004

Contact:   Andy Buchsbaum - (734) 769-3351

Great Lakes in jeopardy, legislators warn

Restoration plan needed to restore the Great Lakes, Protect region's
environment, economy and health

Action must be taken to restore and protect the Great Lakes, according to
leaders who gathered today in Washington, D.C., to discuss challenges facing
the largest surface fresh water source in the world - one that 33 million
people in the United States depend on for drinking water, industry,
transportation and recreation.

"The Great Lakes are in trouble," said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the
National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office in Ann Arbor, Mich.
"People realize the seriousness of the situation when they are prohibited
from swimming at beaches and restricted from eating fish that they catch.
The fact is, without intervention, the condition of the Great Lakes will
only worsen and has the potential to devastate the economy, environment and
way of life for millions of people. That's why we're urging Congress and the
administration to take strong action to save and restore this tremendous
natural resource."

Congressional leaders from both parties have introduced Great Lakes
restoration legislation - HR 2720 in the House of Representatives and S.
1398 in the Senate - to protect drinking water, reduce pollution, and
rehabilitate coastal habitat for fish and wildlife. The bills would dedicate
between $4 billion and $6 billion to restore the Great Lakes basin.

"A restoration project on the scale needed to save the Great Lakes demands
comprehensive and coordinated federal action," said Buchsbaum. "Congress has
provided much-needed funding to restore and protect some of the country's
greatest wildlife sanctuaries, including the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades,
and San Francisco Bay. Restoring the Great Lakes will require a similar

Sewage overflows, mercury pollution, contaminated run-off, invasive species,
loss of shoreline habitat and water development continue to tax the health
of the Great Lakes and the people and wildlife who depend on them.

"The Great Lakes basin gained notoriety more than 30 years ago when the
Cuyahoga River caught fire and Lake Erie was pronounced dead due to toxic
chemical pollution," said Buchsbaum. "Those tragedies led to environmental
protections in the form of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the
Clean Water Act - important first steps that we feel Congress and the
President must now build on to ensure a healthy Great Lakes basin."

Buchsbaum added: "The Great Lakes are one of the natural wonders of the
world - one that we want to restore, protect and maintain now and for
generations to come."

The nation's largest member-supported conservation education and advocacy
group, the National Wildlife Federation unites people from all walks of life
to protect nature, wildlife and the world we all share.  The Federation has
educated and inspired families to uphold America's conservation tradition
since 1936.

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