Online forum to focus on Great Lakes
By John C. Kuehner
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Published November 23, 2005
If you want to tell the U.S. and Canadian governments
what their priorities should be for the Great Lakes and
the St. Lawrence Seaway, now is the time to speak up.
All you need is a computer.
The International Joint Commission, created nearly a
century ago to help resolve boundary water issues between
the United States and Canada, will hold a public Web dialogue
Nov. 29 through Dec. 2.
This will open the discussion to a range of issues and
put people from Duluth, Minn., to Montreal in contact
with each other.
People must register for discussion. They can participate
day or night any of the four days. Each day has a different
agenda topic that will have panelists available to answer
questions throughout the day.
Unlike a chat room, where you drop a comment and hope
someone will respond, here they will, said Frank Bevacqua,
a commission spokesman.
Elaine Marsh, who heads Friends of the Crooked River,
a grass-roots group devoted to protecting the Cuyahoga
River, plans to participate.
"I am deeply in this, and in the response of the
community as well," she said.
The IJC is seeking comments on priorities to restore
water quality and how to update the Great Lakes Water
Quality Agreement, which outlines the commitments of how
the United States and Canada will protect the waters.
The agreement was last amended in 1987.
This fall, the IJC held 14 meetings across the Great
Lakes to get public comment. Many comments that the group
received at those meetings showed public interest in broadening
the scope of the agreement to include such issues as invasive
species, global climate change and mercury pollution from
coal-burning power plants, Bevacqua said.
To register, review the daily agenda or look at various
background documents, go to www.webdialogues.net/ijc/greatlakes.
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