Thursday, September 8, 2011

GLWQA Amendments, Forums, Webinar, & Comments

Sep 8: The Governments of Canada and the United States (the Parties) recognize the importance of engaging the Great Lakes community as they proceed with the negotiations to amend the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). As the Parties near the end of the negotiation process, they are providing an opportunity for the public to input into this process through two in-person Public Forums (one in Canada and one in the United States), and a webinar.  The purpose of the meetings will be to review significant changes being contemplated for an amended Agreement. Additionally, the public may also provide written comments.
    In the U.S. a public forum will be held in Chicago on September 13, at the U.S. EPA Region 5 headquarters from 9 AM to 1 PM(CDT). Additionally a public webinar will be held the same day from 1 PM – 4  PM (CDT). Written comments on the significant changes being contemplated for an amended GLWQA may be submitted until September 20, 2011. The Parties have also released the presentation that will be presented at the public forums and webinar entitled, Negotiations to Amend the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) Binational Public Forum.
    On September 7, Great Lakes United (GLU) and allied organizations submitted recommendations that they view to be essential elements of a successful agreement that will step up to the scale of environmental threats in the lakes, and also provide governing systems, leadership and strategies to implement the Agreement. The groups indicated their frustration that, "to date, almost no information has been available to the public about the substance and scope of the new Agreement, making it difficult for concerned citizens to ascertain what modernization looks like, or to provide meaningful feedback in public forums." 
    Access an overview and links to meeting and webinar details, registration, contacts and the Presentation on Amendments (click here). Access the existing GLWQA (click here). Access a release on the letter from GLU and link to the letter (click here). Access the Great Lakes United Agreement Watch blog for extensive information and (click here). [#GLakes]

Great Lakes Commission; IJC, AOCs Meetings & Great Lakes Week

Sep 8: On October 11 & 12, Commissioners from the eight Great Lakes states and the provinces of Ontario and Qu├ębec will be meeting at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, as part of Great Lakes Week, discussing Great Lakes issues of priority interest including: the Great Lakes as engines of economic recovery; Great Lakes ports in the 21st Century; lessons learned from algal blooms and dead zones in Lake Erie; the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; renegotiation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement; and the proposed ecological separation of the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds to thwart the spread of Asian carp.
    Also, the International Joint Commission (IJC) will be holding its Biennial Meeting on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit from October 11-14. Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the IJC reports on progress toward restoration and engages the public in discussions regarding fishability, swimmability and drinkability. Additionally, the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition will be holding its Seventh Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference on October 12-14; and the U.S. Areas of Concern (AOC) will conduct its Program Annual Meeting on October 13-14 -- both at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit.
    Great Lakes Week represents a new partnership to improve the places around the basin where people live, work, learn and play. The week's activities will bring representatives of the U.S. and Canadian governments together with a broad coalition of public and private groups to highlight efforts to implement solutions for the lakes' most pressing problems. Great Lakes Week also gathers the annual meetings and conferences of various organizations in one place, making it one of the most wide-ranging Great Lakes summits in history.
    Access a summary of all events during Great Lakes Weeks and links to details on registration and agendas for each (click here). [#GLakes]