Coalition Supports Bill to Clean Up Great Lakes Toxic Hot Spots
ANN ARBOR, MICH. (May 8, 2008) – The U.S. Senate yesterday introduced a bill to clean up Great Lakes toxic hotspots responsible for drinking water restrictions, beach closings and declines in fish and wildlife populations.
“Cleaning up toxic pollution in the Great Lakes is essential to our public health, economy and way of life,” said Jeff Skelding, national campaign director for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “We urge the U.S. Congress to pass and fund this important, efficient and successful clean-up program.”
Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) introduced the Legacy Act of 2008 (S. 2994), whose funds go toward clean-up of polluted Great Lakes harbors and tributaries. Designated Areas of Concern by the U.S. and Canadian governments, the contaminated sites pose threats to people and wildlife.
“We applaud Senators Levin and Voinovich for introducing the bill and look forward to working with Congress to get this bill signed into law,” said Skelding. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work cleaning up these sites before the problem gets worse and the solution costs more money.”
Co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Norm Coleman (Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Barak Obama (D-Ill.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). The Coalition is working to get all Great Lakes Senators to sign on in support of S. 2994.
The Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2008 reauthorizes the Great Lakes Legacy Act for five years and increases the authorization of funds from $54 million to $150 million per year.
Of the 31 contaminated sites in the United States or shared with Canada, only one site –Oswego River – has been de-listed since 1987. (A full list of U.S. Areas of Concern in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin is below.)
“The pace of clean-up has been inadequate. We can do better and need to do better,” said Skelding. “We know that healthy lakes go hand-in-hand with healthy communities and a healthy economy. The time to act is now.”
The Great Lakes region stands to gain between $12 billion and $19 billion in economic benefit from cleaning up the Areas of Concern, according to the Brookings Institution.
Updating and funding the Great Lakes Legacy Act is a major recommendation of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, a historic plan put forward by more than 1,500 citizens, public officials, business representatives, scientists and conservationists.
The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 90 zoos, aquariums, museums, and hunting, fishing, and environmental organizations representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes.
For more information: http://www.healthylakes.org/
For Immediate Release:
May 8, 2008
Jeff Skelding, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, (202) 797-6893, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jordan Lubetkin, National Wildlife Federation, (734) 904-1589, email@example.com
United States Areas of Concern include:
Waukegan Harbor, Illinois
Grand Calumet River, Indiana
Clinton River, Michigan
Deer Lake, Michigan
Detroit River, Michigan
Kalamazoo River, Michigan
Manistique River, Michigan
Muskegon Lake, Michigan
River Raisin, Michigan
Rouge River, Michigan
Saginaw River and Bay, Michigan
St. Clair River, Michigan
St. Marys River, Michigan
Torch Lake, Michigan
White Lake, Michigan
Buffalo River, New York
EighteenMile Creek, New York
Niagara River, New York
Oswego River/Harbor, New York
Rochester Embayment, New York
St. Lawrence River at Massena, New York
Ashtabula River, Ohio
Black River, Ohio
Cuyahoga River, Ohio
Maumee River, Ohio
Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania
St. Louis River and Bay, Minnesota and Wisconsin
Lower Green Bay and Fox River, Wisconsin
Menominee River, Wisconsin
Milwaukee Estuary, Wisconsin
Sheboygan River, Wisconsin
Senior Regional Communications Manager
National Wildlife Federation - Great Lakes Office
213 West Liberty, Suite 200 | Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: 734-887-7109 | Fax: 734-887-7199 | Cell: 734-904-1589