Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.), co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, welcomed today the signing of the revised Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Representatives of the U.S. and Canadian governments signed the document, which revises an agreement reached in 1987, today at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.
"As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I am fully committed to preventing toxic chemicals from poisoning our food supply and invasive species from damaging our ecosystem," said Senator Kirk. "The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement will help maintain the integrity of the entire Great Lakes Basin and addresses the unique challenges that come with protecting these waters. I applaud the U.S. and Canadian partners involved for recognizing that the clean up of lakes, rivers and greater boundary waters cannot be done independently. The signing of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement allows for the necessary cooperation to achieve these shared goals and preserve our environmental treasures."
"I'm pleased that after 25 years, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is being updated to better reflect our scientific understanding and focus resources on the most pressing threats to this natural treasure," Levin said. "With its emphasis on prevention of environmental damage, the agreement reflects a more cost-effective use of resources, as preventing damage is generally less costly than cleaning up ruined ecosystems. I am also pleased the agreement focuses on invasive species which are a continuing threat. I am hopeful that our two countries can work together to implement this agreement and truly restore the Great Lakes."
The Great Lakes Water Quality agreement is a formal agreement between the U.S. and Canadian governments establishing shared goals for protecting and improving water quality of the Great Lakes, which provides drinking water to more than 40 million people. The agreement was first signed in 1972, and last revised in 1987.
Sens. Levin and Kirk hosted a briefing for their colleagues on the effort to revise the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement earlier this year. In an April 19 letter to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, they urged that negotiators share draft text with interested stakeholders to solicit feedback and strengthen public support for the revised agreement.
The Senate Great Lakes Task Force is a bipartisan group of Great Lakes State senators who advocate for actions to strengthen the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes.