BY COUNCILORS STOVER, GILBERT, JOHNSON AND PRESIDENT REINERT:
The city council finds as follows:
(a) The Great Lakes comprise almost 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater and 95 percent of North America’s fresh surface water, and supply drinking water to more than 40 million U.S. and Canadian residents;
(b) The Great Lakes support local agriculture; a diversity of wildlife, including a world class fishery; maritime trade; industry; and tourism;
(c) The Great Lakes are ailing from a multitude of environmental stressors, including aquatic invasive species, toxic contamination of river and lake sediments, partially or inadequately treated sewage discharges, pollution from nonpoint sources and coastal habitat loss;
(d) Lake Superior is the largest and most pristine of the Great Lakes and the headwaters of the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River system;
(e) Lake Superior has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in the world, with a drainage basin totaling 49,300 square miles, and encompassing parts of Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario;
(f) The health of Lake Superior is essential to the quality of life and economic vitality of Duluth and other communities along the shores and in the surrounding basin, supporting tourism, industrial, recreational, commercial, tribal and cultural activities;
(g) The port of Duluth, ships more cargo than any other Great Lakes port, with an estimated value of $2 billion annually, and supports 2,000 jobs;
(h) Over 140 scientists have endorsed a paper, “Prescription for Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection and Restoration – Avoiding the Tipping Point of Irreversible Changes,” which calls for urgent action in the Great Lakes to avoid degradation of the lakes’ ecosystem;
(i) There has been an unprecedented collaborative effort on the part of 1,500 people representing federal, state, tribal and local governments, research institutions including universities, businesses, agricultural organizations, non governmental entities and private citizens to develop an action plan to restore and protect the Great Lakes;
(j) Members of Congress have introduced the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act, which seeks approximately $20 billion over a five year period (about $14 billion in federal funding and about $6 million from state, local and other sources) to fund projects that implement the action plan to restore and protect the Great Lakes;
(k) Specifically, the act will provide funding to:
(1) Prevent and control aquatic invasive species;
(2) Create and restore wetlands and other fish and wildlife habitat;
(3) Reduce municipal sewage overflows;
(4) Clean up toxic sediments in Great Lakes areas of concern, including the St. Louis River;
(5) Reduce mercury pollution;
(6) Otherwise implement the action plan to restore and protect the Great Lakes;
(l) Local governments need financial assistance to upgrade wastewater treatment plants and infrastructure, to reduce nonpoint source pollution and to address other water quality problems;
(m) The Florida Everglades and other nationally significant water resources have already benefitted from significant federal investments in restoration and protection;
(n) The Great Lakes are a significant natural resource in need of substantial state and federal financial assistance.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Duluth City Council hereby supports the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act, which seeks approximately $20 billion over a five year period.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the state of Minnesota to continue its proud tradition of protecting Lake Superior and to fulfill its commitment to protecting and restoring the Great Lakes by taking substantial steps and, whenever practical, match federal funding to implement the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the clerk shall transmit copies of this resolution to members of the Minnesota congressional delegation, the members of the Minnesota state legislature, the governor of Minnesota, and the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, c/o U.S. EPA, Great Lakes National Program Office, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, G17J, Chicago, Illinois, 60604-3511.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: This resolution memorializes the council’s request for government action to save the Great Lakes.