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Great Lakes Article:

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.

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