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Habitat Watch # 289
Great Lakes United
January 18-January 24, 2004

Mark Your Calendars! Great Lakes Unitedís Annual General Meeting

From Experience to Action
Lake Erie Dead Zone: Our line in the sand
June 4-6th, 2004
Mercyhurst College
Erie, Pennsylvania


Please join us at this yearís Annual General Meeting to take stock of Lake Erie, the regionís indicator lake, plus share your own local experiences of change throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system. For more detailed information, please contact the Bonnie Danni at the Great Lakes United office, 716-886-0142 or bonnie@glu.org. Please watch for registration materials in upcoming issues of Habitat Watch.

Senator asks President to cut navigation study funding

This Wednesday, January 21st, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton called on President Bush to abandon a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study that could lead to a costly and environmentally harmful expansion of the St. Lawrence Seaway. In a letter to the President, Senator Clinton urged him to not request funding for the Great Lakes Navigation System Review in his upcoming fiscal year Ď05 budget. The Corps have already received $1.5 million in fiscal year í03 and $2 million in fiscal year í04 for the current phases of the study (see HW# 271 for more detail on the current phase, a 30-month supplement to the reconnaissance report).

Sen. Clinton raised her concerns about this study last year when she asked that funding be zeroed out because she was concerned that the study was designed to expand the Great Lakes navigation system and St. Lawrence Seaway. When that attempt was unsuccessful, she urged that report language be included specifying that the current phase of the study be conducted in a balanced manner and that it be limited to the existing configuration of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway. The language was not adopted, but the Corps has promised to do both things.

Clintonís action indicates her concerns have not been alleviated despite the various manifestations of the Great Lakes Navigation System review.

City of Hamilton compromises democracy in favor of an expressway

From Lake Ontario Waterkeepers and Friends of Red Hill: For everyone concerned about the proposed expressway that the City of Hamilton is pushing through Red Hill Valley (HW#286), the Hamilton Spectator reported on Thursday, January 22nd, that the City has been employing a professional lobbying firm since 1999 to lobby the provincial government in favor of the Red Hill expressway. The City of Hamilton is using taxpayer dollars to pay the lobby firmís rate of $375 per hour. In the same article, the Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Environment Leona Dombrowsky, who is still officially considering a review of the project, said that the expressway project is "full steam ahead."

The Red Hill expressway is a hotly contested four-lane municipal expressway project proposed through Kingís Forest park, a designated Environmentally Significant Area.

The Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has responded to the recent discoveries with two actions. The first action taken was a Freedom of Information request for copies of records relating to the Red Hill Creek Expressway. The second action was a letter sent to Minister of the Environment Leona Dombrowsky, reminding her of the Waterkeepers original request for a review of the expressway approvals, drawing attention to the City of Hamiltonís lobbying activities, and asking if whether her parliamentary assistant was making the official response of her Ministry on this project. For more on the Lake Ontario Waterkeepers actions, as well as a copy of the Hamilton Spectator article, check out: www.waterkeeper.ca/lok/index.cfm, under "Navigation LOK by location" pull up "Hamilton".

Great Lakes Unitedís Habitat and Biodiversity Task Force produces Habitat Watch with support from the George Gund Foundation and GLU coalition members. The task force is committed to protecting natural areas, wildlife, and strong conservation laws across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ecosystem. To join the coalition, subscribe, or send stories, contact GLU at: (716) 886-0142; fax: (716) 886-0303; or email: jen@glu.org. Past issues of Habitat Watch can be found at: http://www.sustain.org/Bulletins/index.cfm

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