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GLIN==> citizen review of the great lakes water quality agreement
- Subject: GLIN==> citizen review of the great lakes water quality agreement
- From: Reg Gilbert <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2006 16:06:35 -0400
- Delivered-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-to: email@example.com
- List-name: GLIN-Announce
Dear member of the Great Lakes environmental community,
We would like to invite you to participate in two or more phone
conversations over the next month to discuss the upcoming review and
possible renegotiation of the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality
Agreement. The agreement now focuses on toxic substances, but how it does
so could be revised, and the agreement could be broadened to address
other issues, such as habitat or aquatic invasive species. The review and
possible renegotiation are scheduled to take place starting in May and
continue through next year.
If you are interested in being on these calls among environmentalists
about the review, please send an email to Reg Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org
indicating the issue or issues you are interested in discussing (see the
list of eight issues below) and your time availability for the period
Wednesday, April 12, to Friday, May 5.
For more information on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, connect
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was first negotiated in 1972
to control sewage discharges to the lakes. It was updated in 1978 and
1987 to address toxic substances and highly contaminated "Areas of
Concern" -- basin toxic hot spots. The Canadian and U.S. governments
are now in the process of reviewing how well they have fulfilled their
commitments under the agreement since their last review, held in 1999,
and to consider whether or not they should make changes
("revise" the agreement) and possibly even add entirely new
issues to the agreement ("renegotiate" the agreement).
The calls we are inviting you to participate in are not part of the
official review process -- they are not part of the public "Review
Working Groups" now being set up by the governments to carry out the
first stage of their review. The calls we are inviting you to participate
in are intended to inform and empower the environmental community to
participate in the official process. The official Review Working Groups
will include all "stakeholders" and will begin work in May. The
calls that are the topic of this message are intended for the
environmental community only, and will begin work immediately.
We have written up a series of "guidance papers" on the eight
issues that will be the subject of calls. If you would like to see one of
the papers, email Reg Gilbert at email@example.com for a copy.
What should citizens advocate?
Activists who have monitored the agreement for years, and in some
cases decades, are divided over the wisdom of revision or renegotiation
of the agreement.
On the one hand the agreement has weaknesses, has not been well
implemented since the last revision in 1987, and does not address several
issues of serious binational environmental concern. This would argue
*for* revision or renegotiation of the agreement.
On the other hand, the federal governments in both countries are
currently in the hands of leaders without a notable interest in
environmental protection, and broadening the agreement beyond sewage and
toxic substances could weaken its power to make a difference on those
issues without necessarily doing much for other issues. This would argue
against revision or renegotiation of the agreement.
Thus there is a need for issue-specific calls that allow members of the
Great Lakes environmental community to discuss how well the agreement has
addressed or might address various environmental problems. This will be
followed by a discussion of the wisdom of changing or broadening
the agreement to solve the problems raised.
With these conversations as background, hopefully activists will be
better prepared to participate in the official review process. Our hope
is that we can find substantial consensus that will allow basin
environmentalists to enter the review process with a unified position on
what outcomes we would like to have achieved by the official
The issues covered on the eight sets of calls will be:
(Current issues found in the Great Lakes Water Quality
> Toxic substances
> Remedial Action Plans and contaminated sediment
> Monitoring and research
> Coastal health (mostly sewage and non-point discharges)
> Governance (structures to assure that governments fulfill the terms
of the agreement)
(New issues that could possibly be included in the agreement:)
> Aquatic invasive species
> Habitat, species, and biodiversity
> Climate change
As noted above, we have written up a series of "guidance
papers" on the eight issues that will be the subject of these calls.
If you would like to see one of the papers, email Reg Gilbert at
firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy.
Please get involved
We want to encourage basin environmental activists to participate in
this review process to the greatest extent possible. There are two ways
to do this:
1) Join the issue-specific calls among environmental activists that is
the main subject of this email. The issues are listed immediately below.
If you would like to be on one of the calls:
a) email Reg Gilbert at email@example.com
b) note the issue you are interested in (see list below)
c) list your time availability during the three-week period of Wednesday,
April 12, through Friday, May 5
Please send this message by the end of the day Monday, April
We hope to have the largest number of people on these calls, so please be
as liberal as possible in listing your available times. For example,
please list times when you might be traveling, but are otherwise
available. Calls will be free to all participants.
2) You can also join the official government "Review Working
Groups." For more information and to sign up, email Reg Gilbert at
firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for joining the official Review Working Groups
listed in the official materials has been extended to April 26. First
calls or meetings will be sometime in May.
Help us reach people
Please pass this message on to anyone you know is interested in this
Please send Reg Gilbert an email at email@example.com a message indicating the
issue (or issues) you are interested and your time availability by this
Monday, April 10.
We hope to hear you on the calls.
Cameron Davis, Executive Director, Alliance for the Great Lakes
Derek Stack, Executive Director, Great Lakes United
Jeffrey Potter, Director of Communications Programs, Biodiversity
Fe De Leon, Researcher, Canadian Environmental Law Association