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U. S. focuses on Great Lakes clean-up while Canada falls further behind
March 02, 2004

Only 2 of 17 “Areas of Concern” cleaned up on Canadian side of border While U.S. environmental groups and public officials meet today in Washington to discuss progress on cleaning up the Great Lakes, Canada continues to fail to live up to agreements signed as far back as 1994.

In 1994, the Canada-Ontario Agreement was signed. It committed Canada and Ontario to restore degraded areas identified in 17 “Areas of Concern” in Ontario. Since then, only 2 of the 17 have been restored. Federal funds for this work have been reduced, Remedial Action Plan coordinators have been laid off, funding for Public Advisory Committees has been cut and site monitoring has been severely reduced.

“Canada is often seen as a world leader on environmental issues,” said Anne Mitchell, Executive Director, Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy. “However our government’s lack of support to seriously tackle the problem of cleaning up the Great Lakes is a national embarrassment.”

“Problems in the Great Lakes are only growing worse,” continued Mitchell. “If we are to preserve the lakes to protect our drinking water and fresh water fisheries, we must act quickly before it is too late.”

Today is “Great Lakes Day” in Washington where Members of Congress, government officials and environmentalists are meeting to discuss ways to improve the health of the Great Lakes.

“It is encouraging that politicians in the United States are actively engaged in helping to ensure the lakes are protected,’ said Mitchell. “Hopefully Canadian and Ontario elected representatives will follow this lead and become engaged.”

CIELAP calls on the Canadian and Ontario governments to immediately:

For more information, contact:
Anne Mitchell
Executive Director

The Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy has for been commenting on and monitoring policy and regulatory changes related to the environment for 30 years.