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Great Lakes Article:

Latest Great Lakes Plan Unveiled
Society of Environmental Journalists Tipsheet
Published July 20, 2005

A wide-ranging effort by a "new kid on the block", the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, may spur improvements in the Great Lakes, which the group acknowledges are increasingly prone to rapid and unexpected environmental damage.
Authorized by the Bush administration in December 2004, the Collaboration released its preliminary recommendations July 7, 2005 (Draft Report and EPA backgrounder). If enacted, the range of actions could substantially affect the daily lives of millions of people in at least 8 surrounding states. Anticipated coordination with Canadian efforts would also affect residents in that country.

However, the draft proposal could change substantially following public comments expected through Sept. 9, 2005.

Six public hearings in the region are scheduled before then (July 28, Gary, IN; Aug 1, Grand Rapids, MI; Aug. 7, Superior, WI; Aug. 18, Detroit, MI; Aug. 23, Cleveland, OH; Aug. 30, Buffalo, NY; for more details, see the GLRC meeting calendar; EPA, Nancy Guiden, 312-353-5006).

A final report is expected by Dec. 12, 2005. The US Congress would then need to approve funding, possibly billions of dollars, to implement any final recommendations as would state and local governments and some companies. The preliminary recommendations include:

virtual elimination of discharges of pollutants such as mercury, PCBs, dioxins, and pesticides
major reductions in sewage discharges
clean up of the 31 most contaminated locations that have been known for at least 15 years
improved drinking water treatment and distribution
improved fish-consumption advisories
reductions in damage from invasive species, via controls on ship ballast water, canals and waterways, and trade in live organisms
reduced contamination from runoff (to be achieved by restoring wetlands and buffer strips, improving agricultural soil management, and reducing livestock operation discharges)
doubled funding for research

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