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GLIN==> Great Lakes United praises waters report

Great Lakes United praises waters protection report

BUFFALO, March 16 - Great Lakes United praised the International Joint 
Commission yesterday for issuing strong advice to the U.S. and Canadian 
governments on what they should do to protect the Great Lakes and St. 
Lawrence River  from export, diversion, climate change, and wasteful water use.

"This report from the most prestigious organization in the Great Lakes 
points the way to what the governors, premiers and federal officials need 
to do to protect the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River," said Reg Gilbert, 
GLU's sustainable waters coordinator.

"We challenge the governors and premiers of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence 
River basin to publicly commit to carry out the central recommendation in 
the report - creating within 24 months a strong, collective plan among the 
region's states and provinces for protecting our waters."

Yesterday the commission released its eagerly awaited "Final Report - 
Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes." Great Lakes United is a 
coalition of 170 environmental, hunter/angler, union, and community groups 
in the United States, Canada, and First Nations dedicated to protecting the 
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ecosystem.

The report and a steaming audio recording of a press conference about the 
report held yesterday are available at www.ijc.org.

GLU praised the commission for recommending that:

 > The Great Lakes states, Ontario and Quebec create within 24 months a 
strong, collective plan for judging all proposals to use water in the Great 
Lakes basin. This should be a significant spur to the stalled discussions 
on collective action now under way among the governors and premiers

 > The Great Lakes states and provinces implement strong water conservation 
measures, with specific targets and timelines for reducing the region's 
waste of water

 > Extreme caution on use of groundwater because know so little about its 
function in the ecosystem

 > The United States and Canada live up to their agreements under the 
international climate change treaties, because climate change is predicted 
to reduce the levels of water in the Great Lakes by up to three feet within 
fifty years

GLU also noted some shortcomings in the report:

	While proposing that the governors and premiers create a strong plan for 
judging water uses, the commission failed to recommend that the states and 
provinces agree to make the plan binding. The much weaker Great Lakes 
Charter, agreed to by the U.S. states, Ontario and Quebec in 1985 and a 
likely model for any future plan, is not binding and for the most part has 
not been implemented.
	In the area that has most concerned the basin public - how we should deal 
with bulk water export and diversion proposals - the IJC suggests allowing 
them under conditions that, while relatively restrictive, still allow the 
potential for a great deal of damage to the ecosystem.

Gilbert concluded, "Whether our governments end up taking strong action to 
protect the waters of the Great Lakes will ultimately depend on citizen 
pressure on this issue."


Reg Gilbert
Communications Coordinator
Sustainable Waters Field Coordinator


(716) 886-0142, fax: -0303

Great Lakes United
Buffalo State College, Cassety Hall
1300 Elmwood Ave.
Buffalo, NY, 14222


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