of the Great Lakes States declare their shared intention to manage
and protect the water resources of the Great Lakes Basin as stated
in the Great Lakes Charter:
resources of the Great Lakes Basin are precious public natural resources,
shared and held in trust by the Great Lakes States and Provinces."
of the Basin's natural resources, the Great Lakes States and Provinces
have a shared duty to protect, conserve, and manage the renewable
but finite waters of the Great Lakes Basin for the use, benefit,
and enjoyment of all their citizens, including generations yet to
come. The most effective means of protecting, conserving and managing
the water resources of the Great Lakes is through the joint pursuit
of unified and cooperative principles, policies and programs mutually
agreed upon, enacted and adhered to by each and every Great Lakes
State and Province."
of Great Lakes Basin waters is threatened by toxic contamination
from numerous sources transported in a variety of ways, and the
interdependence of the system requires integrated management of
toxic substances in the region.
surrounding the Great Lakes must work together toward the development
of comprehensive, integrated and complementary policies on the control
of toxic substances which will protect the quality of water resources
in the Great Lakes Basin for generations to come.
of this agreement is to establish a framework for coordinated regional
action in controlling toxic pollutants entering the Great Lakes
system; to further understanding of toxic contaminants and ways
to control them; and to redirect our common goals, management practices
and control strategies for toxic contamination to ensure a cleaner
Great Lakes ecosystem.
The Governors of the Great Lakes States agree that management
of the water resources of the Great Lakes should be based on the
recognition of the economic and environmental importance of this
The Great Lakes
constitute the largest single system of fresh surface water in the
world and our region's most precious and vital natural resource.
They are important both nationally and internationally. The Great
Lakes support a multitude of activities and occupations including
fishing, swimming, boating, tourism, agriculture, industry and shipping.
They are a source of drinking water and energy. These uses are interdependent
and require a high standard of water quality.
The Governors commit to managing the Great Lakes as an integrated
ecosystem, recognizing that the water resources of the Basin transcend
of water quality has traditionally focused on control of point sources;
however, recent research indicates that pollutants also enter the
Basin indirectly through atmospheric deposition, through erosion
of soils and disturbances of sediments, through runoff from non-point
sources such as urban and rural storm water and snow melt, and through
groundwater. The relatively closed nature of the system makes the
Great Lakes especially vulnerable to pollution. Consequently, the
actions of one jurisdiction or user in the system may have an impact
on others. Because of this interdependence and the resource's economic
and social value to the region, it is crucial that the lakes be
managed as an integrated system.
The signatory States concur that the problem of persistent toxic
substances constitutes the foremost environmental issue confronting
the Great Lakes.
identified in the Great Lakes have raised water quality management
to a new level of complexity. The pollutants themselves are numerous,
their pathways into the lakes are varied and their effects on the
environment, aquatic life and human health are not well understood.
However, some studies have demonstrated that toxic contamination
can lead to changes in infant behavior, reproductive disorders and
cancer. About 30,000 chemical compounds are utilized in the Great
Lakes Basin with an additional 1,000 generated each year. In 1985,
the International Joint Commission's Great Lakes Water Quality Board
reported that among chemicals of potential concern to human health
and the environment, approximately 500 had been identified in the
Great Lakes. As they become increasingly concentrated, these substances
have an adverse effect on water quality.
The signatory States commit to continue reducing toxics in the
Great Lakes Basin to the maximum extent possible. Such actions shall
be consistent with the Federal Clean Water Act goal of prohibiting
the discharge of toxic pollutants in toxic amounts, as well as the
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement's aim to "virtually eliminate"
the discharge of all persistent toxic substances.
The Great Lakes
States have implemented numerous toxic substances control programs
and measures and have achieved significant reductions in certain
organic pesticides and metals. However, the complexity of the problem
calls for continued action and, in many cases, new and creative
initiatives. Working toward the goal of prohibiting the discharge
of toxic pollutants in toxic amounts affords a fundamental reference
point against which to measure each successive generation of regulatory
initiatives as States work within the means provided by law.
The signatory States commit to cooperating among themselves and
with local and state agencies, regional groups, the federal government,
the International Joint Commission and the public in the study,
monitoring and management of the water resources of the Great Lakes
of the toxic substances problem calls for a cooperative approach
among the jurisdictions and organizations who share responsibility
for the management of the Great Lakes Basin. The sheer number of
toxic compounds and the variety of pathways of contamination will
frustrate efforts made by individuals or institutions working separately
on isolated elements of the problem. Cooperative efforts in gathering
and analyzing data and developing pollution-control initiatives
will lead to more effective management and will be to the benefit
of all the Basin's citizens.
The signatory States agree to work cooperatively to improve the
region's information retrieval and technical analysis capabilities,
recognizing that compatible data bases are key to the development
of effective regulations and the control of toxic substances Basin-wide.
on the potentially harmful effects of many chemicals found in the
lakes is unavailable or incomplete. Fundamental data may be needed
before appropriate questions can be framed. In addition, analytical
techniques such as risk assessment or toxicity testing may be in
preliminary stages of development. The application of information
obtained through shared data bases and analysis can lead to more
effective toxic substances control policies and practices.
in Regulating Toxic Substances
The toxic substances
threatening the Great Lakes are not confined to the region; they
are evident in surface waters throughout the United States. Federal
pollution control laws enacted in the 1970s envisioned uniform national
standards for toxic substances and stringent national regulation.
Yet the federal government has historically been unable to establish
standards for many of the toxic chemicals of concern in the Great
Lakes. As a result of this failure to act, costly duplication of
research and standard- setting continues to occur among the States.
The absence of uniform national standards may encourage competition
for economic development to the detriment of the Great Lakes Region
and endanger public health and the environment.
do not view this agreement as relieving the federal government of
its obligation with respect to the management of the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes States should, through coordinated efforts, use
their influence to help shape federal policies and legislation related
to toxic substances.
- The Great
Lakes Governors will work together through appropriate national
associations and through their Congressional delegations, to advocate:
federal emphasis on toxic pollution prevention;
federal commitment to the goals and intent of the Great Lakes
Water Quality Agreement;
funding to implement existing federal toxic pollution control
funding for federal Great Lakes research and management programs;
expeditious development of additional national criteria or
standards for toxic substances to protect both the ecosystem
and human health, and national guidelines that can be used
as a reference point while standards are being developed;
expansion of toxicological research, such as research aimed
at improving the understanding of the interaction of toxic
chemicals in living systems, and the development of new toxicity
expansion of federal initiatives for prompt remedial action,
including those for contaminated sediments, Superfund sites,
federal properties, spill cleanups and areas of concern.
- The Council
of Great Lakes Governors will coordinate an annual review of the
proposed federal budget, legislation, regulations and other federal
initiatives to identify those which may affect the water quality
of the Great Lakes. In conducting this review, the Council shall
work with the eight Great Lake States' Washington offices, the
Great Lakes Commission and the Northeast- Midwest Institute. The
Council will develop policy positions on identified issues of
concern and communicate consensus positions to the Administration
and the region's Congressional delegations. The first review will
be completed by March 31, 1987.
- The signatory
States call for a thorough examination of the implementation of
the current United States-Canadian Great Lake Water Quality Agreement,
identifying the successes and failures of each party, before renegotiations
- The signatory
States agree to seek an active role for the States should renegotiation
of the Agreement be agreed to by the federal governments of the
United States and Canada.
An Economic and Environmental Resource
States recognize that maintaining Great Lakes water quality and
stimulating economic growth are complementary goals. Maintaining
and improving the quality of Great Lakes waters will sustain water
supply systems and commercial, manufacturing and recreation industries,
while creating new economic development opportunities.
of this document agree that competing for business investments by
lowering environmental protection and public health standards threatens
the region's most important natural resource, its clean water.
- The Governors
agree that to attract new business to their States by lowering
environmental and health standards or weakening enforcement standards
- To preserve
the value of these special waters, jurisdictions surrounding the
Great Lakes will strive to maintain a high standard of water quality
when establishing regulatory standards. The issuance of permits
for new or increased discharges that enter directly into the Great
Lakes and have the potential to lower water quality shall be considered
only when no prudent or feasible alternative to such discharges
- Given the
sensitive nature of the Great Lakes, the signatory parties advocate
development of a national policy to protect water resources that
are vulnerable to pollution, so that effluent limits are maintained
even if the receiving water body meets or exceeds water quality
standards. Therefore, the signatory States direct their environmental
administrators to work with the federal government toward attainment
of this goal.
of toxic substances into the Great Lakes environment through air,
surface water and groundwater routes is an undesirable practice.
Until such time as completely closed systems are technologically
feasible for all manufacturing processes and treatment systems,
the relapse of some process materials will continue. Control of
releases from such sources to ensure that they have minimal impact
on environmental quality and human health is a responsibility shared
by regulatory agencies and the discharger. The permitting process
is the best means now available to regulatory agencies for controlling
parties agree that discharges, emissions or releases of toxic substances
will be controlled by a regulatory permit process in order to reduce
or eliminate the negative effects of toxics on human health and
- The signatory
parties direct their environmental administrators to jointly develop
an agreement by September 1, 1986, for coordinating the control
of toxic releases and achieving greater uniformity of regulations
governing such releases within the Great Lakes Basin, based on
the following principles:
point discharges or emissions of toxic substances that can
negatively affect the Great Lakes should be controlled by
a regulatory permit process;
Basin States should ensure that in their search to understand
and control the effects of cumulative discharges they do not
violate those environmental or health related standards established
for specific media;
control of toxic discharges requires that the permitting of
toxic substances releases to surface water, groundwater and
air be better integrated;
should be an integral part of the permitting process. This
is because biomonitoring allows natural resource managers
to measure the total impact of a discharge on the environment,
rather than the impact of the sum of individual chemicals;
groundwater management programs will be developed and implemented.
They will include initiatives to prevent groundwater contamination
from occurring within sensitive areas adjacent to the Great
Lakes and its tributaries. Long-term protection of the groundwater
resources in these areas is important to ensure that migration
of polluted groundwater to the Great Lakes or across state
boundaries does not occur;
Basin States agree to work toward establishing rules or permits
for existing sources requiring controls and to carry out the
evaluations needed to better understand the impacts of toxic
air emissions on the Great Lakes.
States agree that the management of hazardous waste is an issue
of Basin-wide concern and that adoption of principles of wise management
by the Great Lakes States should be a regional goal. The States
recognize that the most economical and effective way to reduce the
adverse effects of toxic chemicals is to eliminate their entrance
into the environment at the point that they are produced or used.
- The environmental
administrators shall consider the following source reduction options:
of incentives for new manufacturing processes that element
or lessen the use or discharge of toxic substances
businesses in the development of alternative technologies.
- In situations
where source reduction may not be feasible, the region's environmental
administrators shall pursue the following goals for the treatment
of hazardous waste:
or reuse of waste;
of new environmentally sound methods, processes and facilities
for waste disposal as alternatives to those for land disposal;
of environmentally sound on-site disposal and destruction
technology to eliminate, where possible, the transporting
of hazardous waste;
disposal of residual waste which remains after reduction,
recycling or reuse.
the need of each State to choose the option best suited to its
situation, each signatory State agrees to pursue programs aimed
at hazardous waste reduction, proper disposal of household hazardous
waste, proper management of solid waste, recycling, reuse and
other forms of environmentally sound treatment.
- In addition,
the environmental administrators of the Great Lakes States are
directed to explore the potential advantages of, and possibilities
for, interstate cooperation in hazardous waste management planning.
The environmental administrators will report to the Governors
on recommendations for interstate cooperative actions by January
Notice of Discharge Permits
States agree that:
- When considering
a permit for a discharge or a new water quality standard that
may significantly affect air or water resources, each jurisdiction
shall share this information, as requested, with other Great Lakes
States that may be affected. In deciding what type of information
may be of use or interest to other jurisdictions, the jurisdiction
issuing the permit or standard shall consider such factors as
distances and pollutant transport mechanisms involved; whether
the toxic substance to be discharged is on the International Joint
Commission's Great Lakes Water Quality Board's list of critical
pollutants; whether it presents a health threat to human or aquatic
life; whether it will have a cumulative effect on a body of water;
and whether the substance is of historic concern to one or several
of the Great Lakes States.
- Each signatory
State will develop an initial list of permit or standard information
it is most interested in receiving and forward the list to the
other signatory parties by September 1, 1986.
Discharge of Pollutants
States agree that:
- If an accidental
discharge of pollutants significantly affects shared air or water
resources, the jurisdiction that first discovers the discharge
shall notify all other affected jurisdictions immediately. If
there is reason to believe that the discharge may affect public
health, the emergency response authorities of all affected jurisdictions,
as well as the federal emergency response authorities, shall be
- Upon request
of an affected jurisdiction, a consultation meeting of all affected
parties shall take place. This initial consultation will include
the exchange of all pertinent information regarding the discharge
and its potential effects. The signatory parties agree to consult
with one another regarding clean-up plans, potential adverse effects
of the discharge, and other relevant issues until satisfactory
remedial action has been completed. The consultation process is
intended to aid, not create an obstacle to, necessary emergency
clean-up activities initiated by any State.
- Each of
the signatory States shall forward to the other signatory parties
by September 1, 1986, the 24-hour telephone number of the emergency
response unit to be contacted when such an accidental discharge
enter the Great Lakes Basin from a wide variety of sources including
industrial discharges, non-point sources and atmospheric deposition.
It is acknowledged that the atmosphere is a significant source of
the total balance of pollutants entering the Great Lakes system.
However, in many cases additional research is needed to quantify
sources of toxic substances transported through the atmosphere.
- The signatory
States agree to cooperate in quantifying toxic substances loadings
originating from all sources, with the purpose of developing the
most environmentally and economically sound control programs.
- The signatory
States agree to consider the effects of airborne pollutants on
human health and aquatic life when setting air emission standards
and granting air emission permits, and to better integrate their
respective air and water programs to address atmospheric deposition
affecting the lakes.
- The signatory
States endorse the work of the atmospheric component of the Great
Lakes International Surveillance Plan and its increased focus
on monitoring toxic substances.
and surveillance activities are fundamental to identifying areas
of toxic contamination as well as to determining the effectiveness
of existing pollution control programs. The Great Lakes International
Surveillance Plan (GLISP) was established during the 1970s as a
framework for monitoring compliance with the objectives of the United
States-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. In the spring
of 1983, the International Joint Commission established seven Lake
and Connecting Channels Task Forces under the surveillance work
group. These Task Forces are charged with developing plans to coordinate
water quality data and to ensure its compatibility.
- The signatory
parties agree to commit their environmental agencies to participating
in this process.
- The signatory
parties agree to develop mass loadings data through their respective
monitoring programs and to provide this data to the International
- In the Spring
of 1986, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, working with
the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, completed
a "Lake Michigan Toxics Control Strategy". This document
focuses existing resources on specific areas of concern, and identifies
specific actions for each State to take toward controlling toxic
recognize the benefits of such coordinated efforts and cite
this process as a model to be considered for Basin-wide use.
the signatory States agree to the following cooperative initiatives
to improve the region's monitoring programs and preserve the
Governors charge their environmental administrators with studying
specimen-banking programs in the Great Lakes Basin and recommending
steps that can be taken to improve them. The recommendations
of the administrators shall be submitted by September 1, 1986.
Development of a regional program for the banking and preservation
of flesh specimens from fish, birds and other wildlife would
provide continuity in data comparisons by allowing analysts
to compare older samples to newer ones.
State, in coordination with local governments, should sample
water intakes or initiate some other sampling program that
provides water column quality trend analysis. This information
will augment the region's data base on toxic substances.
signatory parties agree to work in cooperation with the federal
government toward the development of Basin-wide fish and aquatic
bird monitoring programs as indicators of water quality.
Bay and Saginaw Bay have been chosen by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency as areas in which to test a modeling approach
that will identify and quantify sources of pollutants entering
these systems and analyze their effects. Pilot projects such
as these should be encouraged. Similar projects should be
considered for the treatment of contaminated sediments. Sharing
the lessons learned from such projects can facilitate the
development of effective future cleanup initiatives, and proper
Great Lakes modeling.
signatory States agree to support the International Joint
Commission's Water Quality Board in the development of a system
of waste water discharge quality benchmarks. This system would
help facilitate, among the Great Lakes States, a common determination
of levels of toxicity from specific point sources. Benchmark
criteria would be developed for concentrations or loadings
or both, related to the discharge of specific contaminants
in the effluents of point sources in the Great Lakes Basin.
The benchmarks should reflect a movement toward the goal of
virtual elimination of the discharge of persistent toxic substances.
Governors recognize that the Great Lakes States are involved in
many common endeavors and that each jurisdiction could benefit from
the experiences of its Basin neighbors. Many of the techniques used
for identifying and controlling toxic contaminants are still in
their infancy. It is to the benefit of the entire region to share
experiences with these techniques.
- The signatory
parties agree that information exchanges, which will include hands-on
workshops for technical personnel, shall take place on a regular
basis. These exchanges will include discussions of procedures
testing, such as biomonitoring;
of contaminated sediments; and
- The Governors
charge their environmental administrators with initiating such
exchanges by developing a preliminary schedule of workshops to
be held in furtherance of the goal of improving environmental
management techniques. An initial schedule will be prepared by
September 1, 1986.
technology and analytical sensitivity, it is now possible to detect
the presence of small quantities of environmental contaminants.
Contaminants in fish are of particular interest because fish constitute
a major pathway of toxic exposure to humans and are good indicators
of changes in the aquatic ecosystem. A number of States surrounding
the Great Lakes have fish monitoring programs. However, a long interval
often elapses before one State's findings are made available to
neighboring States. A prompt exchange of this information would
supplement the findings of each jurisdiction and aid those who make
of this goal, in March of 1985 the States of Illinois, Indiana,
Michigan and Wisconsin agreed to forward their data on fish contamination
in Lake Michigan semiannually to the United States Environmental
Protection Agency. They also agreed to meet annually to assess their
combined databases, exchange technical information and, to the extent
possible, prepare consistent fish consumption advisories. In the
fall of 1985, a series of discussions were initiated to expand this
process to include the eight Great Lakes States.
- The signatory
States agree to charge their representatives with reaching an
agreement for each of the lakes on common fish advisories, such
agreement to be in place by the 1987 fishing season.
- The signatory
States agree to cooperate in other Basin-wide initiatives, such
as the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's Fish Community Health
Task Force. This United States-Canadian group is working on a
manual to help standardize sampling procedures and fish tumor
and Health Effects Assessment
One means of
assessing the chronic and carcinogenic effects of toxic chemicals
in the Great Lakes Basin is to evaluate the incidence of cancer
and other chronic diseases among the population residing and working
in the region. The registration of newly diagnosed cases of chronic
disease in infants, children, and adults is an important first step
toward establishment of a data base from which trends can be identified.
A complete review of health effects in the Great Lakes Basin is
dependent upon the accuracy of these registrations as well as the
compatibility of registries among jurisdictions within the Basin.
Some jurisdictions in the Great Lakes Basin have health effects
or occupational health registries in place; others have yet to initiate
such programs. For those that do have registries, the information
collected may vary from program to program.
- The signatory
States, recognizing the importance of compatible health effects
registries, charge the health administrators of their respective
jurisdictions with studying the status of health effects registries
in the Great Lakes Region and recommending additional initiatives
that should be taken in this area. The health administrators of
the Great Lakes Basin should work in coordination with the administrators
of national health effects programs. Their report shall be submitted
to the signatory parties by November 28, 1986.
Water Quality Fund
The Great Lakes
Governors have long been committed to providing an adequate and
sustained level of financial resources to achieve enhanced Great
Lakes water quality such as is called for in the United States-Canada
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The Governors reaffirm that
there is a need for significant resources to augment current state
and federal commitments, as well as to provide a stable funding
source for significant resources to augment current state and federal
commitments, as well as to provide a stable funding source for long-term
monitoring and research and to provide for a shared resource pool
to fund activities that may not clearly be state or federal responsibilities.
1. The Governors
commit to examining alternative long-term funding sources that will
permit continued progress toward a healthier Great Lakes ecosystem.
The Center for the Great Lakes has agreed to assist the signatory
parties by conducting a feasibility study on the creation of a regional,
long-term funding mechanism. The Center will report back to the
signatory parties on the goals and objectives, fundable activities,
sources of revenue and management structure necessary for such a
fund. A preliminary report will be submitted by December 31, 1986.
States agree that a program of public outreach is an important component
in the control of toxic contaminants in the Great Lakes.
- Each jurisdiction
will ensure citizen involvement in the implementation of this
agreement by providing for or using existing forums, such as advisory
and technical committees, public hearings and/or workshops. The
views expressed through such forums will be considered during
the annual review of this agreement. Further, each jurisdiction
will provide its citizens with opportunities to take an active
role in Great Lakes cleanup activities.
- The signatory
States also support an increased emphasis on environmental awareness
in the educational curriculum of their schools, and recognize
the important role that the Sea Grant program plays in public
States commit to the coordinated implementation of this agreement.
To this end, the Governors shall, no less than once per year, review
progress toward implementation of this agreement and advise one
another and the public on actions taken to carry out the principle
of the agreement, together with recommendations for further action.
specific actions shall be taken:
- The environmental
administrators of the States signatory to this agreement will
meet annually to review the progress made toward implementing
this agreement. Their initial report will be submitted to the
Governors by May 31, 1987.
- As part
of its role in implementing this agreement, each jurisdiction
will develop a management plan appropriate to its own political
and regulatory system. The environmental administrators will review
these plans and integrate their comments into their annual review
of this agreement.
entered into the 21st of May 1986.
James R. Thompson,
James J. Blanchard,
Robert D. Orr,
Mario M. Cuomo,