States and Canadian provinces coordinate Great Lakes project
| 12.13.2005 | 11:13:37 | Views: 3012 | ID:
December 13 '05: A coalition of federal, state and local government leaders, along with environmental groups and others are planning on a new 15-year, $20 billion plan to help clean the Great Lakes and decrease the amount of pollution, improve drinking water and connect communities through the waterways that make up one of the largest and most important networks in the country, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Focus on environmental concerns and how they affect communities has increased since some of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina was caused by the erosion of the tidal basins and wetlands around the New Orleans area through development and poor management.Some of the Lakes' most "pressing problems, including the proliferation of invasive species, the deterioration of animal habitats, toxic hot spots blamed on pollution and tainted wetlands and tributaries," will be examined, the AP reported. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson told the AP, "We think it's an excellent blueprint or guide for directing our collaborative efforts." Eight states and two Canadian provinces will partner in the cleanup efforts. President Bush called on the EPA in 2004 to begin to address the problem of pollution and habitat elimination. "The partnership," the AP continued, "also called for new federal laws to prevent invasive species from entering the lakes, and reducing discharge of mercury, PCBs, dioxin, pesticides and other toxins into the lakes." The Christian Science Monitor reported last month that the National Environmental Policy Act, "known as the Magna Carta of US environmental laws" is under potential danger of being repealed. NEPA's focus is to make sure that large construction or projects on federal land will be studied for its impact on human and environmental health. Congressional hearings have been held to determine the efficacy of the law, the Monitor found. Testimony from environmental groups as well as business lobbyists and Native American tribes will be taken into account. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is working on finding the possible environmental effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast and the states' environments. The federal agency is working to monitor pollution flow from New Orleans as the city drains of flood waters and large algae blooms which deplete the water of oxygen.
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