(Photo by Charissa Val Straalen) Two years ago, over 49 non-governmental organizations across Canada and the USA signed on to a letter asking both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Barack Obama to address issues pertaining to a series of shipments of liquid radioactive waste from Chalk River in Ontario to the US Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina. These shipments were along public roads and over bridges crossing the Great Lakes. You can find our previous post here. (Letter is reattached for your reference)
This letter pressured the Canadian section of the Great Lakes Executive Committee to enhance and be more proactive about their duties under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 2012, and mandated it to help coordinate, implement, review and report on programs, practices and measures undertaken to achieve the purpose of the GLWQA. In this case, the specific provision under scrutiny is Article 6 of this Agreement: “the Parties shall notify each other, through the Great Lakes Executive Committee, of planned activities that could lead to a pollution incident or that could have a significant cumulative impact on the Waters of the Great Lakes.”
Recently, our efforts have made an impact. Following this demand, the Canadian Great Lakes Executive Committee has given the public an opportunity to file any notices of Canadian projects with the potential for pollution or cumulative impacts to the Great Lakes. This is the first of a newly established quarterly protocol that will pave the way to more public consultations in the area.
In light of this, Sierra Club Ontario’s Green Energy Chair, Christine Elwell, strongly urges: "any and all members of the public and other NGOs to use this enhanced process to expose and defeat projects that could negatively impact the Great Lakes." (You can do that by emailing the GLEC Secretariat at: email@example.com)
Not only do we celebrate this development as a benefit to the environment, but also to promote the GLEC’s new mandate to consult about proposed projects with all stakeholder parties including, but not limited to: federal agencies, state and provincial governments, tribal governments, First Nations, Métis, municipal governments, watershed management agencies, and local public agencies.