News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron General

Metro RTA

Akron Children's Hospital


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


U.S. and Canadian government agencies make plans to restore the Great Lakes
While the U.S. has made improvements cleaning up the Great Lakes, Canada has been stagnant the last few years
Story by KAREN SCHAEFER


 

This week, government agencies and non-profits from the US and Canada have been meeting in Cleveland to discuss urgent priorities for restoring the Great Lakes. The two countries have just updated a 25-year old water quality agreement that adds new commitments to reduce nutrient pollution, curb invasive species, and help cities adapt to climate change. But as independent producer Karen Schaefer reports, environmentalists on both sides of the border are concerned that neither the US nor Canada will spend what’s needed to implement the changes.

Schaefer on the Great Lakes Commission

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:10)


Over the past four years, the US has significantly stepped up spending on the Great Lakes, pouring more than a-Billion dollars into clean-up.  That’s won praise from environmental advocates like Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes program office, who says the US investment represents “tremendous progress,” particularly in cleaning up toxic hotspots.

But others charge that in recent years, Canada hasn’t been doing its fair share.  In an article this month in the Toronto Globe & Mail, Canadian advocate Bob Oliver, CEO of Pollution Probe, said Canada’s investment over the same period has remained relatively stagnant, capped at about 50-Million dollars a year.  Some citizen groups, such as the Council of Canadians, say future spending plans by Canada are quote – “absurdly inadequate.”

Some Canadian coastal landowners like Bob Duncanson are frustrated that problems like dropping lake levels and new algae blooms aren’t being dealt with faster

“Like any frustrated taxpayer, they’re never doing enough, but they’re taxing me too much.  So it’s a double-edged sword.”

Canadian government officials claim they are making headway on combating new Great Lakes threats like nutrient pollution and invasive species, despite the lack of a national investment strategy like the US Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. 

“Within Environment Canada, we have already initiated a new program focused on Lake Erie…”

That’s Michael Goffin, head of Canada’s federal environmental protection agency for the province of Ontario, a region that encompasses four of the five Great Lakes.  Goffin says this summer, Environment Canada began new water quality monitoring on Lake Erie and its Canadian tributaries, trying to pinpoint the source of algae blooms that have plagued the lake for the last decade.

“And the funding continues for the next four years.  That will allow us to achieve the commitment contained with the amended Great Lakes water quality agreement to have new targets in place within three years in force of that agreement.”

Goffin is referring to one of the provisions in the new Great Lakes Water Quality agreement that would identify targets for reducing phosphorus, the nutrient that’s causing the algae blooms.  In an editorial this week, the Toronto Star called that “hardly ambitious.” But Goffin frames it positively.

“On some things like the phosphorus issue, there’s a need for coordination and a need for urgent action.  And the government of Canada has recognized that.”

Canada is also committed to spending about18-Million dollars fighting Asian Carp.  The invasive fish species could deal a severe blow to Canada’s multi-million dollar commercial fishing industry.  Government officials say these and other steps will make a difference.  Paul Evans, head of Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, says what impacts Lake Erie also hurts the Canadian economy.

“Ninety-five percent of Ontarians live within the Great Lakes basin, 80-percent of Ontarians take their drinking water from the Great Lakes, so it’s an important piece of our daily life.”

Evans says he wishes that Canada, with its much smaller resources, could match what the federal US government is now doing to restore the lakes.

“The amount of investment through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, we look on that with somewhat a bit of envy.  But we’re trying to take on whatever steps we can within our fiscal resources.”

Some Americans at the conference give Canada high marks when you consider performance over the span of several decades.  Andy Buchsbaum, from the National Wildlife Federation, says Canada has got the US beat on implementing previous Great Lakes agreements.

“I believe, based on history, the last 25-years, Canada uses the Great Lakes water quality agreement as a much more defined set of policy objectives and policy measures than the US does.”

But he warns that both countries need to continue their efforts to step up funding on the Great Lakes or risk losing the progress that’s already been made. 

Listener Comments:

i hope you make solution in that plan to make the people comfort and safe.


Posted by: carlos mendoza (philippines) on November 28, 2012 12:11PM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio lawmakers propose grants for home construction for disabled people
We have been trying to have a "Visitability Bill" passed for years. Thanks, Greg

Lake County crimes may give Trump immigration fodder
Shoddy reporting at best. "Mixed views" The question that came to my mind was, "How many people did he have to interview to get "mixed views". Do the two peo...

Ohio's U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown announces plans to improve Medicare by lowering prescription costs for seniors
Sounds good. I'm living in Florida to escape the snow. So far it's working. I retired from GM in 2000. Keep pushing for all the working people. In the long run ...

The tiny town that time, and elections, forgot may go out of existence
Thank you for this story. I grew up in Limaville, my parents home is there still...unsellable due to the septic/sewer problem. Sometimes I am sorry I left...wis...

Where Ohio'sJohn Kasich stands in the presidential polls
We are fans of Gov. Kasich since he served in the House of Representatives. It pleases us to finally see him as the potential President of the United States. We...

Cleveland hosts the first national Movement for Black Lives conference
What a wonderful experience this was, So much love and understanding, without all of the other distractions that tend to come with organizing for change, this e...

Air Force unit gets training and Youngstown gets rid of some eyesores
Do they have to totally destroy all the beautiful oak and leaded windows, which I am thinking are probably there? Do they just have to destroy them like that? C...

Jewish challah and Native American fry bread at an Akron cultural exchange
Each time I saw the young students relate to each other, I got goose bumps. These young students can and hopefully will teach all of us to live and respect eac...

One of the Cleveland Orchestra's most celebrated musicians bids farewell
I had the honor of studying with Franklin Cohen in the late 80s and early 90s. He is unparalleled both as a clarinetist and as a musician. His deep personal war...

Summa's dress code is not 'etched in stone'
SOME OF THESE POLICIES ARE A COMPLETE JOKE. UNLESS YOU ARE DOING THESE TYPE OF JOBS EVERY DAY, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IS COMFORTABLE AND REASONABLE OR NOT. UNLESS ...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University