Tuesday, July 29, 2008

President Urges Quick Action On Compact Approval

Jul 28: President Bush issued a statement on the recent approval of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact by the Great Lakes states and urged Congress to act quickly to approve the Compact. The President said, "I congratulate the Governors and Legislatures of the eight States that border the Great Lakes on their conclusion of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. Made in the spirit of cooperative conservation, this Compact is the result of many years of close coordination and consensus-building that resulted in the Compact's approval by the eight Great Lakes States and two Canadian Provinces.

"The Great Lakes are a national treasure. They were vital to the exploration of this continent and have long supported commerce. Today, more than 33 million people live in the States and Provinces bordering the lakes, and the lakes provide an efficient means to transport food and other commodities destined for global markets. The Great Lakes provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities and serve as a source of drinking water for more than 30 million people.

"The Compact will ensure sustainable use and responsible management of waters from the Great Lakes Basin and preserve the Great Lakes for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. I strongly urge Congress to provide rapid approval of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact."

On July 30, the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), has scheduled a hearing at 1:00 PM to examine S.J.Res.45, expressing the consent and approval of Congress to an inter-state compact regarding water resources in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin. In the House, Representative James Oberstar (D-MN) has introduced H.R.6577 which has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, Chaired by Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI). The House Committee has scheduled a Markup of: H.R. 6577 at a meeting to begin at 10:15 AM on July 30.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes issued a statement on the President's comment and upcoming hearing saying, “This shows that the Great Lakes aren’t just important to us who have them in our back yard. They’re important to officials all across the country -- they see the Great Lakes as a national treasure that their constituents care about. This is a historic moment for the Great Lakes. It’s one of only a handful of times the states have all come together over the past half century to create a binding blueprint for protecting the water as the lifeblood of the region.” Alliance President Cameron Davis, is scheduled to testify at the Senate hearing on behalf of the Healing Our Waters®-Great Lakes Coalition representing more than 100 environmental groups around the region.

Access the statement from the President (
click here). Access the Senate hearing website (click here). Access the House hearing website (click here). Access the release from the Alliance (click here). Access legislative details for S.J.Res.45 (click here). Access legislative details for H.R. 6577 (click here).

Response To Great Lakes Aquatic Invaders Exercise

Jul 29: Over 30 representatives of local, state and Federal government agencies and community groups will test their readiness to respond to aquatic invaders in the Great Lakes in a three day exercise in Presque Isle Bay, PA., starting July 29. Participants will exercise on the water on July 30. This is the first time that the U.S. EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office has brought together a variety of groups in such an exercise. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is hosting the pilot exercise which may be repeated elsewhere in the Great Lakes and other watersheds. Gary Gulezian, Director of the Great Lakes National Program Office said, "The Great Lakes ecosystem is a priceless natural resource and this exercise is helping ensure that we are ready to protect it. Pennsylvania is demonstrating how all levels of government can work together to pool their resources and prevent new invaders from becoming established. "

During the exercise, participants will trawl for fish and practice using fish electroshocking equipment to prepare for a real-life situation where these techniques could be used to confirm the presence of an invasive species. By working together in an exercise, agencies will learn ways they can combine assets and overcome jurisdictional barriers to respond quickly to the introduction of harmful aquatic species.

Access a release from EPA Region 5 (click here). Access more information about invasive aquatic species in the Great Lakes from EPA (click here).