Great Lakes Initiative: Implementation Phase!

Great Lakes Initiative: Implementation Phase!

by Sandra Wilmore, Save the Dunes Conservation Fund

Representatives from environmental groups around the Great Lakes are gearing up for quality implementation of the Great Lakes Initiative. Now that rules from all eight Great Lakes states have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the new standards must be realized through effective state programs. Save the Dunes has joined others from Indiana and around the Great Lakes to make recommendations to and solicit assistance from the EPA for strong implementation of the Great Lakes Initiative standards throughout the Basin states.

The priority items under discussion include 1) the backlog of NPDES permits and the inadequacy of state/tribe efforts to address them; 2) the need for training sessions and a publicly available list of permits (featuring expiration dates and decisions); and 3) the need for EPA review of selected state permits by priority sectors to clarify procedures. Examples of priority sectors include the pulp mills along Fox River in Wisconsin and the steel mills of Northwest Indiana. Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) are another priority sector that needs particular attention. The groups maintain that EPA’s active involvement in states’ review and issuance of key NPDES permits is necessary to realize effective protection under the Great Lakes Initiative.

Other priorities being addressed are the integration of activities related to the Air-Water Interface Work Plan (an EPA draft document released January, 18 2001) to address atmospheric deposition in Great Lakes water, steps to assure protection from priority pollutants such as mercury, and the need for state GLI rules to be implemented in coordination with the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads. Tom Anderson, Executive Director of Save the Dunes, participates in both a local and state-wide TMDL workgroup coordinated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Knowledge of how to develop TMDLs is woefully lacking in all sectors. Fitting this program with others to yield effective, comprehensive protections is a true challenge. Assistance from the EPA is well warranted and crucial for timely progress to be achieved.

Save the Dunes Conservation Fund
444 Barker Road
Michigan City, IN 46360
PH: (219) 879-3564
FX: (219) 879-3793
email: sand@savedunes.org

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