Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

The United States and Canada recently revised and signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.  Originally conceived in 1972 as an outcome of the Boundary Waters Treaty to address phosphorus pollution, it was revised in 1978 and expanded with the stated goal “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem.”  This latest revision restates these commitments and expands the provisions to address the following concerns:
  • Aquatic Invasive Species
  • Habitat Degradation
  • Algae Blooms
  • Toxic Chemicals
  • Discharges from Vessels
  • Management of the Nearshore Environment
  • Effects of Climate Change
Seen as a useful step forward for both countries to identify priorities and create policy, the agreement has also raised some criticism for it's lack of legal standards for pollution and penalties for those who violate the terms of the agreement.

Read the entire 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement here
Great Lakes Law blog reports concerns about the public's input into the agreement here