Lake Superior Binational Forum Funding Has Been Eliminated by US EPA
Please read this important message from our friends at the Lake Superior Binational Forum:
The Lake Superior Binational Forum is saddened to say that funding from the popular Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) used to support our outreach programs will end when the Forum’s current grant expires in early April 2015.
The Forum has been an active outreach and diverse stakeholder group that’s been working basin wide since its founding in 1991. The Binational Forum has been the only basin-wide outreach diverse stakeholder group for the world’s largest freshwater lake.
The members of the Lake Superior Binational Forum appreciate and send thanks to the thousands of organizations, businesses, individuals, scientists, clergy, artists, anglers, boaters, historians, musicians, young people, tribes and tribal members, chambers of commerce, tourists, families, captains, float plane pilots, industries, visitor centers, health care workers, municipalities, waterwalkers, radio and television reporters, magazine and newspaper editors, and others from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ontario, and dozens of other states, provinces, and countries that have supported the Forum and cared about Lake Superior for more than two decades.
We have been fortunate to have been supported by USEPA funding for almost 24 years and for over 20 years through Environment Canada. But the Forum is deeply discouraged by the sudden lack of federal support for lake-by-lake outreach campaigns that encouraged public input into how the Great Lakes are managed and informed lake users what they can do to protect the land and waters they care about.
While the average annual GLRI budget has been about $275 million, the Lake Superior Binational Forum had a budget under $100,000 per year. All five Great Lakes Forums cost a total of about $350,000 per year.
GLRI funds are allocated through Congressional budgets and are used to clean up toxic hot spots called Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes, as well as pay for restorations of impaired areas to return them to more natural ecosystems. The GLRI initiative has brought $1.6 billion dollars to Great Lakes work since 2010, which is the most robust investment in great lakes work for many decades.
USEPA Region 5 has told the five Great Lakes Forum that in the future, only state agencies and tribes that receive GLRI funds will be responsible for the development of their own outreach and public comment opportunities.
However, at this point USEPA has offered no plans for how states and tribes will do this outreach work: USEPA informed the Forum that no additional federal funds to conduct outreach or public engagement programs will be allocated to states and tribes through GLRI.
The Forum is exploring other options to continue its outstanding outreach work and is seeking funding from individual donations, foundations, memberships, and other means to cover staff and successful outreach programs such as Lake Superior Day, an annual environmental stewardship awards program, an electronic newsletter, weekly radio program, open public meetings, webinars, and other projects.
The Forum also seeks viable partners to collaborate with us as we re-form as a new basin wide group working for the world’s largest freshwater lake.
As a stakeholder group that was given the authority by binational agencies in 1991 to solicit and gather public input from lake users, we invite all stakeholders–one last time–to send comments on an issue affecting how your lakes are managed.
Send your comments whether or not you think public stakeholder and outreach forums, such as the Lake Superior Binational Forum standing up for Lake Superior, are important to you and your lakes.
Submit comments to:
Gina McCarthy, Administrator for USEPA (Washington DC)
Mail Code 1101A, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20460
Dr. Susan Hedman, Region 5 Administrator, USEPA (Chicago)
Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60604-3507
How Can You Help the Lake Superior Binational Forum Forge Ahead and Regroup to Continue Protecting Lake Superior?
- Become a friend of the lake through our Lake Superior Stewards program. We will keep you informed about lake issues that could affect the lake and land around it such as pipeline developments, factory farming developments, oil shipments by freighters, mining, and other issues and events. We’ll also send public comment opportunities about these events and what you can do to make a difference.
- Send a donation. For 24 years, the Forum’s work was funded by two federal agencies, but without that support we need your help as an individual, family, business, or group.
- Underwrite our outreach programs as an individual, group, or business. Your financial support will help us plan and offer events for Lake Superior Day, conduct free online informational online broadcasts, and other outreach projects.
- Sponsor our work with an annual gift. We appreciate corporate support that allows us to engage our Friends and continue our work.
- Volunteer as a board member. Help us guide the Forum into its new nonprofit organizational process with your expertise.
- Share your skills with us in other capacities such as through a fundraiser, friend-raiser, legal advice, accounting skills, outreach skills, artistic abilities, or your other talents!
For more information:
You can write checks made to Lake Superior Binational Forum, and send them to:
Lake Superior Binational Forum
503 St. Claire Street
Ashland WI 54806