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Great Lakes Article:

Environment at risk under Great Lakes plan
Environmentalists fear proposal to divert more water to U.S.
By Colin Perkel
The Canadian Press
Published September 20th, 2004

TORONTO - An American proposal to allow the diversion of water from the Great Lakes threatens the environment and Canada's sovereignty, critics warn.

In submissions to be made at public hearings today, several groups plan to argue the proposed agreement among eight U.S. states, especially in its current form, is dangerous.

The proposal, known as the Implementing Agreement for Annex 2001, would end a virtual moratorium on new or increased water diversions south of the border.

Even though the legislation would allow only small-scale diversions, expert water consultant Ralph Pentland warns it would still be a very large foot in the door.

"In the business of water, once you say 'maybe,' you say 'yes,' " Mr. Pentland said in an interview from Ottawa.

The Council of Canadians, which will present at Toronto hearings hosted by the Council of the Great Lakes Governors, also wants to make its "vehement" opposition to the proposal known.

"The eight U.S. states are forming an agreement where they're going to sell Great Lakes water," said Sara Ehrhardt, water campaigner for the group.

"It's going to open the door for the sale of water on a large scale."

About one-third of Canadians and 45 million people in total rely on what is the largest fresh-water eco-system in the world for their drinking water.

Thirsty U.S. states, industry, farmers and international water sellers have long eyed the resource with increasing desire.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004

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