Coordinated efforts needed for
Port Clinton News Herald
Sens. George Voinovich and Mike DeWine, Ohio's senators,
and other Great Lakes lawmakers introduced a bill last
week that would authorize $6 billion over the next decade
to clean up the basin. The bill also would create a national
office to oversee and coordinate cleanup efforts.
The coordination and a national policy for the Great
Lakes are badly needed.
There are dozens of programs designed to clean up things
such as contaminated sediments and invasive species in
the Great Lakes.
A recent report from the General Accounting Office, the
investigative arm of Congress, found that 33 federal and
17 state programs have spent more than $1.7 billion on
environmental restoration programs for the Great Lakes.
Yet when challenged recently by Voinovich, who is chairman
of the Government Affairs subcommittee on oversight of
government management, representatives of the various
agencies couldn't point to anyone as directing the overall
This is clearly a situation that leaves the door open
for duplication, waste and misdirection.
Too many agencies trying to provide control of the many
problems of the Great Lakes is clearly a situation that
invites waste of the taxpayers money, creates the potential
for unnecessary details and makes coordination of long-range
The GAO report criticized the lack of coordination between
state and federal agencies. It argued that the clean water
legislation passed in 1987 put the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office
Those who represent the states, however, believe the
governors should have control of the direction of the
environmental efforts that directly affect their states.
This is an issue that needs to be resolved.
Without leadership, there is inefficiency, waste and
As Dewine said in talking about his effort, there needs
to be a national policy and commitment for the Great Lakes.
Lake Erie and the other lakes are a tremendous resource
that has an impact on the health, financial well-being
and quality of life of millions of people.
This cannot be taken lightly.