The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was first passed in 1972 after public outrage over chronic phosphorus-driven pollution problems plaguing the lakes. The agreement helped foster sweeping upgrades for industrial and municipal waste treatment systems on both sides of the border.
Times change, as have the issues facing the Great Lakes. Because of that, the governments of the United States and Canada have begun the process of updating the agreement. On September 13, the public will be able to comment about this work in Chicago.
Two years ago U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon at Niagara Falls to announce plans to revive and refresh the agreement to address both old and new concerns.
“The Agreement was last amended in 1987 and since then, new invasive species have appeared in our lakes, new worrisome chemicals have emerged from our industrial processes, our knowledge of the ecology of the region and how to protect it has grown considerably,” Clinton said at the time. “In its current form, the Great Lakes Agreement does not sufficiently address the needs of our shared ecosystem.”
The two governments have since gone to work trying to put together a plan to solve these problems, and the public will get a chance to comment on their work at two upcoming public meetings: Sept. 8 in Toronto and Sept. 13 in Chicago. Written comments will be taken on the agreement until Sept. 20.
The issues relating to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement touch upon themes in several Roosevelt University courses. Two this fall, SUST 220 Water, offered in Schaumburg by Professor Mike Bryson and SUST 330 Biodiversity, offered downtown by Professor Julian Kerbis Peterhans, still have spaces available before the term begins September 12. If you are interested in taking courses this fall, please contact your RU academic advisor for registration details and consultations on financial aid options. If you are not currently a Roosevelt University student, we encourage you to investigate our degree options, and our course listings. For more information, please visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email applyRU@roosevelt.edu.