November 13, 2006
Contact: David Ullrich
CALL FOR HALT TO WEAPONS TRAINING ON
THE GREAT LAKES
across the United States
in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin
today called on the United States Coast Guard to abandon plans to conduct
weapons training in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes
and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a group of
mayors from over 80 participating
cities in both countries, support the need for added security but say the
safety, health, and environmental risks from the training with machine guns on
the Lakes are too great.
“The proposal to do regular training with automatic
weapons is totally contrary to the long history of peaceful relations and
environmental cooperation between the United States and Canada on the Great
Lakes,” said Mayor David
Miller of Toronto, Chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.
deal with the health and safety of their citizens every day, and fully
understand and appreciate the need for security. At the same time, the mayors believe that creating unacceptable risks for
boaters, anglers, and the over 40 million U.S. and Canadian
citizens who drink the water makes no sense.
“Along with my fellow Great Lakes mayors on both sides of the border, I am deeply
concerned about this issue,” said Chicago Mayor
Richard M. Daley, founding Chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. “We remain
concerned about potential safety issues with boat traffic as well as the
unknown impact to the environment and health of the Great
Lakes. We look forward to continuing to work with the Coast Guard
and our Canadian friends on this
Mayors attended several of the public hearings held across
the basin and voiced their opinions about the proposal for weapons training.
Many people from the boating, fishing, and environmental community spoke out in
praise of the search and rescue work by the Coast Guard over the years, but said
that the risks from the training exercises would be too great. Serious
concerns and questions were also raised about the environmental study performed
by a private contractor for the Coast Guard, especially the fact that it looked
at only five years of impact on the Lakes from the firing. Citizens at the
meetings pointed out that the Coast Guard has alternatives available for
training their people that do not present the threats created by the open-lake
firing of machine guns.
To read the Great Lakes
and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative position paper on the Coast Guard’s
proposal to conduct weapons training, please visit www.glslcities.org/news.htm.
Great Lakes and St.
Lawrence Cities Initiative
177 North State
Street, Suite 500
Chicago, Illinois 60601