1999 GREAT LAKES WATER QUALITY FORUM
SEPTEMBER 24-26, 1999
LIGHTLY EDITED, VERBATIM TRANSCRIPT
FRIDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 24
Thank you Mayor Norquist. The theme of the 1999 Great Lakes Water Quality Forum is Partners in Progress. We chose this theme because we are all partners in progress to clean up the Great Lakes. It's a complex and enormous job, and it will take all of us working together as partners to clean up these tremendous resources. Many voluntary partnerships have developed in this effort. They have been productive and rewarding for the people involved and for the environment in this area. Partnerships between different government agencies like Environment Canada, EPA, provincial and state agencies have promoted work on binational RAPs in the areas that they share. Partnerships also provide opportunities for governments to move away from bureaucratic command-and-control management and for all participants to work together cooperatively. Partnerships also, between the public and the private sector, such as the work being done in Ashtabula River, between local government, its citizens, and local industries has also led to environmental gains. Much of what you will hear over the next several days and do at this meeting will involve partnerships of one kind or another, and it is our hope that some partnerships will be formed at this meeting that will lead to environmental progress.
We are here today for four different reasons. First of all, we are here because we are required to biennially assess the work of governments under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Our 10th Biennial Report, which will come out early next year, will be based on the advice and insight that we have gathered from the past two years from the wide range of people, and also from the people's input that we get at this meeting. It's very important that you actively participate in this meeting, because we are here to listen to you and to add your thoughts and concerns to our report. Help us do that.
Second, we are here to hear from the United States and Canadian Government concerning progress on the Agreement. Tomorrow there will be a session to report and to listen to the public's concerns, where you will have an opportunity to ask questions of government officials in charge of environmental areas and ask them specific questions that you are concerned about in the environment.
Third, as the follow-up to the public meetings and the sessions held by our Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement boards today -- the Water Quality Board, the Science Advisory Board, the Council of Great Lakes Research Managers, the International Air Quality Advisory Board-- will report to us on critical Great Lakes issues.
Fourth, we hope that this will be an energizing event for the local community. In Milwaukee a tremendous citizenry, tremendous individuals that are working toward the environment. We hope that we have helped put the spotlight on some local issues and that this will lead you to re-energizing your people in this area.
On Sunday afternoon when we finish our Biennial Forum we will have another special meeting. Last year, as Carol Browner mentioned, the governments asked us to advise them on the diversions, consumption, and bulk removal of water from the Great Lakes. We issued an interim report and have been asked to issue our final report in February 2000. We are holding twelve hearings in the Great Lakes basin on our interim report asking for feedback from individuals about that report. If you would like to comment on this, we will be holding a session Sunday afternoon from 1:00-4:00 right here in this room, where you will be able to comment on our report. A list of the other eleven sites that hearings will be held will be on the registration table outside.
It's my job as moderator here to tell you a couple other events that are going on. First of all, we have a shindig at the Schooner. Tickets are still available for that. You can get them outside. We also have an environmental Expo going on upstairs that I hope you will join us at a little bit later.
It is my great pleasure now to introduce Leonard Legault who has been all over the world in the capacity of representing Canada in the foreign office. I'm going to call you the foreign service and I know that's not correct. Leonard has been to Rome so dealing with the IJC has been sort of easy for him after that, but he is here to introduce some Canadian officials that will speak to you tonight. Leonard. (Applause)