Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Comments Wanted On Mercury Emission Reduction Strategy

Nov 19: The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration (GLRC) Executive Committee directed that a Great Lakes Mercury Emission Reduction Strategy be developed with a goal of producing institutionalized activities to sustain mercury emissions reduction from unregulated sources, and regulated sources with potential for additional reduction. The Strategy should produce recommendations for state action, or available options for state action. It also directed that the group developing the strategy, solicit input from stakeholders on an ongoing basis using the existing Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy mercury workgroup.

A workgroup was formed in April 2008 to develop the Strategy. The workgroup has made significant progress towards the development of the draft Strategy, including developing a detailed table of contents, developing a detailed discussion about mercury emission sources, and the criteria for selecting source sectors that will be addressed in detail in the Strategy. The Strategy Team is seeking input on documents developed so far including the criteria document, and the source sector document. Input would be most helpful if submitted by December 19, 2008.

The work group members selected source sectors based on the criteria communicated in the June 17, 2008 memo to stakeholders. Selection was based on the following criteria: Total emissions within the Great Lakes states; Potential for high deposition within Great Lakes Basin (due to speciation profile) or high local emissions impact (because of big individual sources); Current availability of measures to achieve reductions; and Potential for future emissions growth from the sector.

Sources were further evaluated based on the following criteria: Are mercury emissions from the sector already being adequately addressed?; Do states have the ability to achieve reductions beyond what will be accomplished through existing/forthcoming regulations/programs?; and Are there cost-effective opportunities for additional reduction?

Access a posted request for feedback and comment (click here). Access the draft outline (click here). Access the criteria document (click here). Access the source sector document (click here). Submit contributions and comments to Alexis Cain (click here); and to Deb Jacobson (click here). Access the GLRC Toxics Pollutants Initiative website for additional information (click here).

Water "Product" Diversion Debate Goes On

Nov 18: The on-going debate over possible water diversion loopholes involving the definition of "product" and the 5.7 gallon exemption under the recently enacted Great Lakes Compact continues. An article by environmental writer John Flesher, published in the Traverse City Record Eagle reports on the coalition of groups led by Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) and their launch of a public education campaign in Traverse City on November 16, 2008 [See WIMS 11/5/08]. The drive is focused on plugging what the groups call a major loophole in the Great Lakes Compact that would allow waters of the Great Lakes to be diverted by private export and sale.

Jim Olson, water law attorney for MCWC said, “There is a giant loop-hole in the Great Lakes Compact diversion ban that just passed Congress. The ban doesn’t apply to water produced and put in a container. That means water placed in a container will be fair game for the engines of large corporations and their teams of lawyers under NAFTA and international trade law. Citizens, landowners, and businesses in Michigan need to know what’s happened so we can protect our water from future claims by outside interests.”

The article reports on others, including the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office and the staff for the Council of Great Lakes Governors (CGLG) that crafted the compact, who believe the existing Compact language "provides ironclad protections" and indicate that the issue "was discussed at length" and experts were consulted when the Compact was drafted. Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI), one of the few legislators to vote against the Compact, is quoted as saying, "Anybody could run a semi-truck through these loopholes."

Access the Record Eagle article (
click here). Access the Great Lakes Regional Body website for additional information (click here). Access agendas for both meetings (click here). Access the CGLG website (click here).