Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Anticipating 'Impaired' Lake Erie

Just trying to get my head around some generalities about an EPA ‘impaired’ designation for Lake Erie.

Ambassador Bridge between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario

The entire lake is surrounded by Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and the Province of Ontario; thus, U.S.- Canadian treaties come into play, and the International Joint Commission (IJC) has a role. (By contrast, EPA’s plan to clean up Chesapeake Bay involves six states, but there is no international connection.)

If the ‘impaired’ label is applied only to the western basin of Lake Erie, then the states directly involved are Michigan and Ohio, plus Ontario, so treaties and the IJC remain pertinent.

Because a critical feature of an impaired western basin is the Maumee River watershed, Michigan, INDIANA and Ohio have to be taken into consideration for certain aspects of an EPA determination, but perhaps not Ontario (unless an indirect association is compelled by the Pakootas and Detroit Edison cases, U.S. and Canadian, respectively), nor treaties, nor IJC.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if somebody has sorted all of this out already?

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