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Great Lakes Diversion Limits Water Down Canada's Rights, Critics Say

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  • Great Lakes Diversion Limits Water Down Canada's Rights, Critics Say

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    Great Lakes Diversion Limits Water Down Canada's Rights, Critics Say
    Cassandra Szklarski Canadian Press

    Thursday, June 30, 2005

    TORONTO (CP) - A proposal to significantly limit water diversions from the
    Great Lakes falls far short of protecting Canada's precious fresh water and
    excludes aboriginal rights to the watershed, critics said Wednesday.
    The tentative deal, to be released Thursday by the Ontario government and
    obtained in advance by The Canadian Press, imposes limits on diversion projects
    in Ontario, Quebec and seven of the eight Great Lakes states, but fails to
    protect Canada's sovereignty over the basin.
    Environmental lawyer Steven Shrybman said the proposals allow U.S. states to
    unilaterally license water diversion without the consent of the provinces or
    "It's important for Canada to defend its sovereignty with respect to
    diversions of whatever scale and however they're defined," said Shrybman.
    First Nations in the Great Lakes areas are furious at being excluded from the
    process, and passed a resolution Wednesday to take "any and all means" to
    defend their claim.
    "We have a primary right to assert our jurisdiction over the lakebeds ... to
    ensure that they are protected, that they are kept clean and that we will be
    part of the decision-making process," said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage
    of the Union of Ontario Indians.
    Beaucage, who represents 43 First Nations, said to expect legal action that
    would claim entitlement to the entire Great Lakes watershed.
    Most of the limits placed on water diversion in the proposal target rural
    communities, which view the lakes as a potential source of drinking water as
    they struggle with dwindling and increasingly polluted waterways.
    The rapidly growing populations of the thirsty American southwest eye the
    Great Lakes as a new source of water. Ontario's London and Kitchener also hope
    to fill their public water systems through a pipeline directly connecting them
    to the lakes.
    Ontario's environment critic Marilyn Churley complained the plan allows
    communities straddling the basin to divert unlimited amounts of water to their
    "The question is, where will it stop?" said Churley, a New Democrat.
    "Eventually, when other communities are in need of new water sources, will further
    exemptions and exceptions be allowed?"
    Ontario's Liberal government has said it won't let unlimited amounts of water
    be taken, but that doesn't guarantee future governments will do the same,
    Churley said.
    The draft agreement would regulate new diversion projects totalling on
    average more than 379,000 litres a day in a 90-day period - a threshold several
    times lower than Ontario's current limit. The province or state providing the

    water would also have to notify all other lakeside provinces and states.
    Massive diversion projects totalling more than 19 million litres per day
    would require approval from the U.S. states, but not from Canadians, Shrybman
    And for the first time, the deal imposes widespread environmental and
    conservation conditions to protect the ecosystem.
    "They're tough standards for anyone to meet," said Sarah Miller of the
    Canadian Environmental Law Association.
    She hopes the tougher terms will force communities to come up with rigorous
    conservation practices to cope with water shortages instead of turning to the
    Great Lakes, which contain 18 per cent of all fresh water on the planet.
    The new limits are tougher than a previous proposal that Ontario refused to
    sign last year with Quebec, and the U.S. Great Lakes states - Illinois,
    Indiana, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
    Seeing concrete results from the deal will be a long way off, since the
    lakeside states have yet to reach consensus.
    Indiana reportedly remains the single holdout - and ongoing negotiations
    could cause provisions to be changed or lost altogether.
    Miller estimated it would be another 10 years before the terms take effect,
    noting they must first pass all eight legislatures in the U.S., plus Congress,
    and then there's a five-year implementation window for many of the
    The draft proposals will be sent out for 60 days of public consultations this
    © The Canadian Press 2005
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

  • #2
    I am telling you....I greatly fear water diversion to the SE U.S. one day..for profit....water will be seen as just one more resource to be exploited...
    What a situation we have reached in Michigan!!!! importing GARBAGE!!! from Ontario...and soon likely to export water!!! WTF??? is there NO limit to greed???


    • #3
      Water is already seen as a resource to be exploited... where you been? LOL!
      Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


      • #4
        Yes, but not in the quantities to come! Believe me, I know about the greed and wall street way when it comes to our 'shepherding' our resources! And SO FAR...the Great lakes have not been diverted in large volume...SO FAR!!!!
        Here in Mich/Ontario we have a LARGE part of the WHOLE world's fresh water...and we have succeeded in polluting it...and changing the ecosystem with alien species and loss of original species...


        • #5
          you got a point there
          Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


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