Action Item: Recommendation
to establish a Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) working group...
...to monitor progress on the renegotiation of the Agreement and to develop a formal position statement outlining the Commission’s views regarding state and provincial involvement in the renegotiation process
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The announcement this past June in Niagara Falls from both the United States and Canada regarding a renewed commitment to amend the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) presents an opportunity to discuss the role of the Great Lakes Commission in the renegotiation process. The last time the Agreement was amended was 1987. The Agreement has played an historic and important role in shaping the strategies of both nations to protect and restore the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
The Commission has voiced its historic support for the GLWQA in previous resolutions. Key points from these previous approved policies include:
- Successful implementation of a renewed Agreement will only be achieved with close coordination and the full partnership from the eight Great Lakes states and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
- State and provincial governments as well as stakeholders from local government, business and industry and environmental non-government organizations should be closely consulted and included in discussions of any new or renewed Agreement.
- A renewed Agreement will require the full commitment on the part of the federal governments to advance Great Lakes—St. Lawrence River protection and restoration efforts.
In July, the Commission’s Board of Directors had a brief discussion regarding how best to involve the Commission in the renegotiation process and whether to establish/reiterate a formal position (e.g., a prepared statement, a resolution to be presented at a Commission Meeting or a letter to the two governments) that declares the desired role of the Great Lakes States and Provinces in the renegotiation process. The Board decided to present a recommendation at the 2009 Annual Meeting to form a GLWQA working group to investigate the timing and desirability to these different options.
The Board recommends the establishment of a working group in October 2009 comprised of Commission staff and Board appointees from the states/provinces to monitor progress on the renegotiation process and help inform the Commission regarding timing and process for preparing a more formal position statement on the desired role of the states and provinces in the renegotiation process. This working group will likely meet several times via conference call over a three to six month period. Each member of the Board will be invited will be invited to appoint a representative from their state/province to serve on the working group and help develop a position statement for communication to the federal governments in early 2010.