1999 GREAT LAKES WATER QUALITY FORUM
SEPTEMBER 24-26, 1999
LIGHTLY EDITED, VERBATIM TRANSCRIPT
SATURDAY AFTERNOON, SEPTEMBER 25
Beverley McClellan, Toxics Coordinator and Counsel, Lake Michigan Federation
The Lake Michigan Federation is the oldest Great Lakes organization non-profit group in the United States. We are dedicated to taking care of the largest lake inside the United States. The Federation would like to thank the Commissioners today for this opportunity to make three recommendations that will help stem the flow of toxics that are contaminating our Great Lakes ecosystem. First, science has given us a clear signal that toxic air deposition is a major threat to our ecosystem in the Great Lakes system, especially Lake Michigan. However, the wealth of data often takes too long to reach policymakers and the public and sometimes it never even leaves the scientific community. The Federation urges the IJC to facilitate the communication of this hard evidence to the public to enable them to press policymakers to make informed decisions that will stem the flow of toxics that our affecting our children's health.
Second, this toxic air and water pollution is resulting in the chronic contamination of sediments in our Great Lakes ecosystem. While the major Areas of Concern have been identified, there are several area that are still not being recognized. The Federation urges the IJC to map all incidences of contamination. Without this focus, agencies fail to educate the public and the citizens about the broad crisis that we are facing with sediment contamination.
Finally, the removal of these contaminated sediments is essential to eliminate the historical contamination in our Great Lakes. However, some industry and government representatives would have the public believe that it is more effective to allow upstream sediments to bury the downstream contaminated sediments. However, this approach does not solve the problem. It simply covers it up. Fish and wildlife can still access these toxic chemicals and people are still exposed to them through the food chain. Moreover, this no-action approach is negating other government programs that would stem the flow of sedimentation into our waterways. The Federation urges the IJC to critically evaluate and suggest alternatives to this no-action approach. Thank you very much.
Thank you Beverley. Could I ask you a question? On this issue of hotspots outside of the Areas of Concern, have you or any organization that you are aware of, other than governments, done any mapping or is there a list that you're recommending that governments look at or that the Commission look at?
There has not been a specific list recommended but, we'd be glad to work with you on that.