Welcome to one of the Great Lakes region's first environmental issues blogs. The North American Great Lakes contain 18% of the world's available surface freshwater and are a source of beauty, spiritual renewal and livelihood. Keep track of Great Lakes news and comment or disagree politely to frequent posts.
"EPA supports state efforts to protect their aquatic resources. Michigan has been a leader in wetlands stewardship since 1984 through their comprehensive wetlands and aquatic resources program which implements and expands protections in the federal Clean Water Act 404 program. EPA has a strong partnership with Michigan and hopes they can continue as an excellent example of state environmental stewardship."
EPA Region V: Phillippa Cannon 312-313-6218 EPA HQ: Enesta Jones 202-564-4355
"The Great Lakes are just an outstanding resource, one of the major
freshwater resources of the world," said Mike Shapiro, EPA's acting
administrator for water. "This increase in funding will allow us to
make significant progress in protecting and restoring them."
Not all the money Obama's budget seeks would be new, Shapiro told
The Associated Press in a phone interview. The restoration initiative
would continue funding of some existing programs — primarily the Great
Lakes Legacy Act, which removes toxic sediments from highly polluted
harbor and river bottoms.
But at least $415 million would be first-time funding, he said.
It hasn't been determined how the money would be allocated. A task
force of federal agencies that helped put together the regional
collaboration plan will compile an initial priority list over the next
six weeks, Shapiro said.
Late last night the Connecticut
Senate passed a deficit mitigation bill that included expanding CT's
container deposit law to cover bottled water. The vote was split
23-12 on party lines after unanimous approval in the House hours
earlier. The expansion to water goes into effect April 1.
An e-group has been established to share news and develop strategies in response to Michigan Governor Granholm's ill-chosen proposal to repeal the state's wetlands law and turn over responsibility to the federal government, which would leave MIchigan with the weakest wetland protection program in the Great Lakes. Those who sign up and join the group can exchange e-mail messages and access backgound documents. It's time to extinguish this proposal once and for all.
DEQ summarizes the document below as follows:
The proposed repeal of Part 303,
Wetlands Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental
Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, and relinquishment of the
federal Section 404 authority to the United States Army Corps of
Engineers (USACE) has resulted in questions regarding the scope of
federal jurisdiction under Section 404. This paper will summarize the
current status of federal Section 404 jurisdiction in general, and how
this might apply in Michigan.
Why, on the morning after the new EPA Administrator affirms a commitment to the Great Lakes, does this blog start out with a link to an article about singular life forms scientists have discovered in Lake Huron?
Because it's interesting, for one thing; and because the Bush Administration affirmed its Great Lakes commitment over and over again the last four years, and while there's a lot more reason to believe in the good faith of the Obama Administration on this issue, speeches are only the start. And because, after a quarter century of watching this ecosystem and its associated political processes, it's clear the Great Lakes know and feel the difference between speeches and actions.