Discuss the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement


The U.S. and Canadian governments are updating for the first time in 23 years their agreement to protect and restore the Great Lakes, and they’re asking you to speak up.

The governments signed in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972 after the Cuyahoga River caught fire and Lake Erie was declared “dead.” The agreement was crucial to cutting the flow of phosphorus and toxic substances into the lakes and informed future environmental laws like the Clean Water Act, according to an internal review in 2007.

But it’s also outdated. It says nothing about emerging threats like climate change and it underplays invasive species.

Negotiations on an update began in January. In the meantime, the governments are asking for public input on the agreement until July 9. If you’ve got something to say about the governments’ negotiations and want them to hear it, the official website is the place to say it.

But we’ve heard at least one complaint about the public input system: It’s a black hole. Once you send in a comment, it disappears and won’t likely see the light of day until months after the comment period ends.

Sure, your wise words have been “sent to both governments for consideration in their negotiations.” But what if they were sent to a place where they could inform everybody else’s comments on the negotiations? Where they could simmer in the great stew of diverse opinions on international environmental policy?

This is Great Lakes Echo’s attempt to provide just such a stew.

The negotiations are split into eight topics on which you can comment. Click the links above to go to an Echo page with the official preamble for each topic, and post your thoughts at the bottom of the page.

Remember that this is just an attempt to facilitate discussion. If you want the governments to consider your comments, you have to submit them to the official website.

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