As revealed in a September 7, 2012 news release, the United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Canada’s Minister of the Environment Peter Kent have signed a newly amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in Washington, D.C. First signed in 1972 and last amended in 1987, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is a model of bi-national cooperation to protect the world’s largest surface freshwater system and the health of the surrounding communities.
New provisions address aquatic invasive species, habitat degradation and the effects of climate change, and support continued work on existing threats to people’s health and the environment in the Great Lakes Basin such as harmful algae, toxic chemicals, and discharges from vessels.
The overall purpose of the Agreement is “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters” of the Great Lakes and the portion of the St. Lawrence River that includes the Canada-United States border.
The amended Agreement sets out a shared vision for a healthy and prosperous Great Lakes region, in which the waters of the Great Lakes enhance the livelihoods of present and future generations of Americans and Canadians.
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