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Statement By Congressman Brian Higgins on Signing of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Sep 7, 2012
Press Release

“Today Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson and Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent have reaffirmed their commitment to the health and safety of our Great Lakes by signing a revised Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Though the release of an updated agreement is long-overdue, I am pleased that we now have this new document to take the steps necessary to address changing threats to the Great Lakes region.

“The health of our Great Lakes is critical to the economic success of the Great Lakes region, including the Buffalo area. We must only look to the revitalization of our Inner and Outer Harbors along Lake Erie as a reminder of this.
“The Great Lakes are the largest source of fresh water in the world and account for over $7 billion in economic activity annually. It is more important than ever before to affirm our commitment to protecting the health of our waterways and this updated agreement is just the beginning we need to redouble our efforts.”
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is a binational commitment, established in 1972, between the United States and Canada to protect and restore the Great Lakes ecosystem. The agreement had not been updated since 1987 and the two countries have been negotiating this updated agreement since 2009. The revisions update the agreement to include new threats, including combatting invasive species, such as Asian carp, and reducing toxic pollution and harmful algae. 
In June of this year, Congressman Higgins, a member of the Great Lakes Task Force, led a letter with 9 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives asking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a status update on the release of this updated agreement.