Great Lakes mayors adopt new water quality agreementMayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative expressed their strong support for the new Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement signed by the governments of Canada and the United States Friday at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.
Mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative expressed their strong support for the new Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement signed by the governments of Canada and the United States Friday at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. Originally developed in 1972 when the lakes were dying and rivers were catching on fire, the agreement has led to dramatic improvements across the basin. With the last revision of the agreement in 1987, much updating was necessary.
“We are very pleased that the agreement has a much more prominent role for cities in protection and restoration of the resource, said Cities Initiative Chair Tom Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee. “We come to the table with major investments and many good ideas, and look forward to working with the federal, state, provincial, first nation, and tribal governments and all other stakeholders to make more progress in the future.”
Although the agreement does not formally include the St. Lawrence River in Québec, we understand the river and lakes depend on one another, said Vice Chairman Régis Labeaume, president of the Québec Metropolitan Community and mayor of Québec City.
“We look forward to working with all of our partners to sustain this global freshwater treasure long into the future,” Labeaume said. “We mayors representing cities and communities across the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence favor an integrated management of the basin.”
The agreement defines the relationship between the United States and Canada for 40 years, and provides a framework for the programs each country has to protect and restore the resource.
“I understand the new agreement addresses the issue of climate change preparedness, and we in Thunder Bay know how critically important that is to the future of all cities in the basin, Secretary/Treasurer Keith Hobbs, mayor of Thunder Bay said. “We plan to share our experiences with others and hope to learn from them, as well.”
As strong as the relationship and framework are, more emphasis is needed on action and results, said executive director of the Cities Initiative David Ullrich. The cities plan to work hand in hand with all partners to make a sustainable Great Lakes and St. Lawrence a reality, he said.