Great Lakes Water Issues Are a Concern
Discussion and research about the water quality of the Great Lakes has been going on for decades. United States and Canada officials are involved along with private organization representatives, some of them activists that are anti-crop protection chemical and synthetic, commercial fertilizer use for conventional farming.
It was back in 1976 that the first Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) was signed by the U.S. and Canada. There have been subsequent GLWQAs. What has been going on has not been top of mind for most of those living in the drainage basin of the lakes. It has appeared that bureaucrats have talked and written reports incessantly, but there has been very little news and publicity reported by regional or national news media.
It appears a political process that could lead to regulatory activity might finally be around the corner. If new regulatory practices and rules are enacted, one way or the other, there will be repercussions to agricultural operations. Change seems inevitable sometime in the future. How unreasonable the regulatory process could become is something that should scare the agricultural community, according to many who have been watching and involved in discussions.
“Just like the Chesapeake Bay is one region of concern, the Great Lakes is another one. We need to get the word out. We need to have awareness that things are going on because there is potential for mischievousness in regulatory oversight,” said Steve Taylor, executive director of the Missouri Agri-Business Association and consultant for the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA).
A look at the federal rules and regulation involvement in the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay is a prime example of what can be down the road for the Great Lakes, but required on a much larger watershed and drainage acres, plus involving Canadian ideas for enforcement.
The governments of Canada and the United States per the “2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement,” or latest GLWQA, agreed to implement programs of the GLWQA by establishing the Great Lakes Executive Committee (GLEC).
This action as of April was proclaimed as a way to finally make progress. The second meeting of the GLEC is scheduled to be held in September in Milwaukee along with the Great Lakes Commission annual meeting during Great Lakes Week.
Light blue highlights Ontario, Canada, drainage into the Great Lakes, and the line in the middle of the lakes is the international boarder.
The week is planned to be “featuring the annual meeting and conferences of diverse groups who are leading the fight to restore the Great Lakes,” as noted on the organization’s website of www.glc.org. That week will be followed by Great Lakes Days in Washington, D.C., March 4-6, 2014.