Friday, June 10, 2005
IJC to Conduct Public Consultation on Review of the
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
[KINGSTON, ONTARIO] – The governments of Canada and the United States have asked the International Joint Commission (IJC) to seek the public's views on their upcoming review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The public consultation process starts today at the IJC's Biennial Meeting in Kingston.
The IJC will be holding public hearings throughout the Great Lakes basin this fall and will provide opportunities for the public to submit comments on the Web. It will include this information in a report to the governments.
"The views of the public will be the catalyst for a successful review of the agreement," said The Right Honourable Herb Gray, Canadian chair of the IJC. "Public input will strengthen public support for coordinated, bi-national action to clean up the Great Lakes."
First signed in 1972, the agreement was last updated in 1987 and there is a growing consensus that it should be reviewed in light of advances in science and new challenges to the integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem.
"Meeting the growing challenge of aquatic invasive species is just one of the issues that must be addressed by the review of the agreement," said Dennis Schornack, U.S. chair of the IJC. "Getting this right by the public will help lay the foundation for a new era of progress in restoring the Great Lakes."
The reference from the two governments is a response to the commitment made by the IJC at its 2003 biennial meeting held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to assist in the review and to make sure that it is inclusive, transparent and comprehensive. Subsequently, release of the IJC's 12th Biennial Report in 2004 officially triggered the requirement for the review (the current agreement requires a review after every third biennial report).
The Great Lakes Conference on June 9 is open to the public. The Biennial Meeting on June 10 and 11 is open to the public and is free of charge. Public testimony on the review of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement will be heard tomorrow, Saturday, at 2 p.m. in the Biosciences Complex on Queen's University Campus.
For more information, visit www.ijc.org (> 2005 Great Lakes Conference and Biennial Meeting) or http://www.ijc.org/2005biennial/about_en.php.
The International Joint Commission prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries as an independent and objective advisor to the two governments.