Joint Statement by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the United States-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
WASHINGTON (April 14, 2022) — United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan and Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, issued the following statement:
Canada and the United States have a long history of collaboration on issues that significantly affect the health and prosperity, and well-being of people living on both sides of the border. Shared management of the Great Lakes ecosystem, one of the largest freshwater systems on earth, is a primary example of our united action.
Fifty years ago on April 15, 1972, in response to the significant deterioration of water quality, our two countries affirmed our commitment to work closely together to restore and protect the Great Lakes through a new framework for binational cooperation, the United States-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Canada and the United States have engaged state and provincial governments, municipalities and local authorities, First Nations, Métis and Tribal governments, industry, nongovernment organizations and the public in working together to achieve a healthy and sustainable Great Lakes ecosystem for the benefit of present and future generations.
The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, in concert with other complimentary U.S. and Canadian environmental programs, has been tremendously effective in improving and protecting the water quality of the Great Lakes. For example, we have achieved dramatic reductions in toxic substances in the environment that are harmful to fish and wildlife, some by more than 90 percent. We have restored and continue to restore especially degraded areas on both sides of the border, and we have implemented measures that have resulted in the return to the Great Lakes region of important species including Bald Eagle and Lake Trout. Our shared environmental progress is a testament to the strength of Canada-United States relations.
As we celebrate 50 years of collaborative efforts, we recognize that our job is far from finished and that continued action by both countries is needed to protect this invaluable resource. We are proud to reflect on the accomplishments made under the Agreement thus far, and we reaffirm our shared and deep commitment to continue to work together to restore and protect the Great Lakes into the future.
The United States and Canada will further recognize and celebrate this important milestone as well as discuss opportunities for the protection of the Great Lakes over the next 50 years at the Great Lakes Public Forum in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the week of September 26, 2022.