Charest pledges Québec support for Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin Compact

Québec Premier Jean Charest renewed on Monday his government’s commitment to wise use and management of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence water resource as defined by the Great Lakes Basin Compact recently enacted in the U.S.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Great Lakes Commission in Québec City, Charest said, “We are determined to do everything in our power, a maximum 200 percent effort, to get the Compact acknowledged from the Quebec perspective as soon as possible.”

Commission Chair and Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry lauded Charest’s remarks, saying, “We welcome the support of Mr. Charest and the Québec government for this critically important agreement. The Great Lakes St. Lawrence basin represents one of the world’s most valuable fresh water resources and while it is a challenge to manage a watershed spanning over 2,500 miles, the fact that we now have solid buy-in from the head of the Lakes to the Lower St. Lawrence makes the objective much more attainable.”

Charest also emphasized Québec’s efforts in developing renewable energy sources while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, noting that its natural hydropower assets give the province a significant advantage.

“Québec is the fourth largest producer of hydro power in the world,” said Charest. “We will meet the Kyoto Protocol. Both federal governments need be more aggressive in reducing greenhouse gasses but if the U.S. and Canada put their minds together, we can accomplish what we want to.”

The Commission added its support to development of clean energy sources by passing a resolution urging Congress to extend a Production Tax Credit program providing tax breaks for the first 10 years of a renewable energy facility’s operation. First established in 1992, the program has since expired and been extended three times, and is currently scheduled to expire again in 2009.

In other action, the Commission:

  • Supported restoration of the Great Lakes Air Deposition Program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which has announced plans to discontinue funding of the program in 2009.
  • Renewed support for the building of a second large navigation lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan following a recent mechanical malfunction at the existing Poe Lock that pointed up the risk of reliance on a single large lock linking Lakes Superior and the lower Great Lakes.
  • Endorsed the City of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Leadership of the Great Lakes Commission changed hands at the meeting with the election of Illinois Lt. Patrick Quinn as Chair. Quinn succeeds Michigan Lt. Gov. Cherry who has served as Commission Chair for the past two years. Cherry was presented with an Outstanding Service Award by the Commission for his contributions as Chair.

For immediate release: October 7, 2008
Contact:
 Tim Eder,  teder@glc.org, office: 734-971-9135

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The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Gov. Patrick Quinn (Ill.), is an interstate compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, and agency officials from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer programinvolving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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