Ontario lawmakers are introducing an act to restore and protect the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes Protection Act would establish a Great Lakes Guardian Council with members from provincial and local government, the First Nations and the sectors of science and agriculture.
A Great Lakes Community Action Fund would provide $1.5 million for community projects designed to help the Great Lakes.
It would also allow the provincial minister of the environment to implement problem-solving targets, requirements and initiatives.
The action comes at a time when critics say a proposed federal budget bill in the Canadian Parliament guts environmental protections.
Here is what others say:
Water Canada reports that the act supports communities taking action to address problems in the Great Lakes.
The Canadian Press reports that the government will seek public comment on strategies for healthy Great Lakes.
Bullet News Niagara lists why the lakes are important, noting “more than 80 percent of Ontarians get their drinking water from the Great Lakes.”
In a joint press release, environmental groups were supportive:
The Canadian Environmental Law Association says “the government’s proposed bottom-up approach to identifying problems and solutions based on local input and involvement is efficient and inclusive.”
Ducks Unlimited Canada says “Strong policies to conserve wetlands across the Great Lakes basin, particularly in heavily settled regions, are essential to stop and reverse wetland loss thereby ensuring that our Great Lakes remain healthy and resilient to current and future pressures.”
Great Lakes United says “Ontario’s planned actions are a major step forward in putting us into a leadership role, which will strengthen Ontario’s ability to encourage actions in other states and provinces through our own example. This is critical to address the major problems now threatening the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem.”
The Sierra Club says “Americans will be pleased that Ontario now has a plan to work together with all stakeholders to restore degraded areas and protect what good habitat we have left in the Great Lakes.”