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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.
“Protecting cherished water bodies like the Great Lakes is not only about environmental conservation. It’s also about protecting the health of the families – and the economies – of the local communities that depend on those water bodies for so much, every day,” says Administrator Jackson.
“The amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement outlines the strong commitment the U.S. and Canada share to safeguard the largest freshwater system in the world. Our collaborative efforts stand to benefit millions of families on both sides of the border,” she adds.
“Joint stewardship of the Great Lakes – a treasured natural resource, a critical source of drinking water, essential to transportation and the foundation for billions of dollars in trade, agriculture, recreation and other sectors – is a cornerstone of the Canada-United States relationship,” says Minister Kent.
The revised agreement will facilitate United States and Canadian action on threats to Great Lakes water quality and includes strengthened measures to anticipate and prevent ecological harm.
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.
According to a statement from the EPA, “both governments sought extensive input from stakeholders before and throughout the negotiations to amend the agreement.” Additionally, the amended agreement “expands opportunities for public participation” on Great Lakes issues.
Click here to view the text of the agreement.