On July 11, Lake Michigan Federation Executive Director Cameron Davis testified before Congress in Washington, D.C. to emphasize the need to fund cleanups of toxic hotspots around the Great Lakes.
If passed, the “Great Lakes Legacy Act,” H.R. 1070, would authorize funding to rid sites such as Waukegan Harbor, White Lake, Milwaukee Harbor, and the Fox River/Green Bay, of “legacy pollutants” — contaminants discharged in the past that have settled in the bottom sediment of harbors and rivers.
Passage of the bill would demonstrate the federal government’s commitment to cleanup of toxic contaminants such as PCBs and other persistent organic compounds. Sediment pollution of this type is especially harmful because it is not eliminated from the ecosystem over time. These compounds instead accumulate within the food web when consumed by small organisms. They can eventually be passed on to humans when fish from contaminated sites are consumed.
Federation testimony before a subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee pointed out that of 42 Great Lakes toxic hotspots, only one has been de-listed from the federal Areas of Concern listing. That site was de-listed only for administrative reasons, not after a successful cleanup.
A federal commitment to cleaning up the Great Lakes will help leave future generations with a legacy of clean, healthy Great Lakes communities, not a legacy of polluted waters. You can find out more about the Great Lakes Legacy Act on the Web at www.lakemichigan.org/elimination/call_for_funding.asp