Press Release: Protect our Great Lakes
from sale or diversion!
Community Press Online
Published April 15, 2005
The Sierra Club (U.S.) and the Sierra Club of Canada have
released a joint statement on the proposed Great Lakes
Annex. The two leading environmental organizations in
the United States and Canada have unequivocally stated
opposition to diversions and increased water withdrawals
in the Great Lakes Basin. The Sierra Club (U.S.) and Canada
urge the Governors and Premiers to come forward with a
new version of the draft Annex—one that is based on maintaining
the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes, one that
confirms the essential role of the 1909 Boundary Waters
Treaty, the International Joint Commission, the U.S. Water
Resources Development Act, and one that confirms that
the waters of the Great Lakes should stay within the basin,
with only very limited exceptions for existing diversions
and communities that straddle the basin boundary.
The first draft of the agreement was put forward for public
consultation in mid-July, 2004, by the Council of Great
Lakes Governors. For the Annex negotiations, the Premiers
of Ontario and Quebec also participate in the Council
of Great Lakes Governors. In October, both national organizations
of the Sierra Club urged the governors and premiers to
allow more time for review, owing to the distractions
of the summer months and the U.S. presidential election
during the public consultation period. On February 1,
2005, the Sierra Club representatives from both countries'
key chapters and national committees met in Chicago to
develop a consensus position between the two organizations.
That statement, "The Chicago Consensus," is
attached to this release.
"We are very pleased to stand together, representing
thousands of environmentally concerned citizens on both
sides of the political boundary that runs through this
incredible global treasure, and say firmly, 'No' to diversions,"
said Jan O’Connell, Treasurer of the Sierra Club Board
of Directors and resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
"The Great Lakes are an extraordinary part of the
planet, with fully 20 per cent of the planet's fresh surface
water. We cannot afford to take the lakes for granted.
The coming decades pose huge threats to the lakes, from
climate change impacts to increased threats from agriculture,
major industries, water privatization schemes, and thirsty
communities. By acting now, we can protect the lakes for
future generations," said Amelia Clarke, President
of the Sierra Club of Canada Board of Directors.
Both Sierra Club (U.S.) and Sierra Club of Canada are
organizing members in the Great Lakes Basin to work for
an agreement that increases the conservation of water
in the basin, protects it from diversions and ensures
that water is recognized as a human right, not a commodity.