Tag «Fishing News»

Great Lakes grand plan on table for public input

The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was first passed in 1972 after public outrage over chronic phosphorus-driven pollution problems plaguing the lakes. The agreement helped foster sweeping upgrades for industrial and municipal waste treatment systems on both sides of the border.

The lakes responded quickly. Rivers stopped burning, algae blooms waned and fish populations rebounded.

The agreement was subsequently updated in the late ’70s with a goal to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters” inside the Great Lakes basin.

But while this shared blueprint to maintain and restore the health of the world’s largest freshwater system still has grand ambitions, today it is way more words than action.

The two governments say they want to change that.

Great Lake States Lose Appeal of Effort to Keep Asian Carp Out of Waters

Five U.S. states lost a bid to overturn a court’s rejection of their request to close links between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River to halt advancing, invasive Asian carp.
Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania had sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and an Illinois waterways management agency, claiming the voracious fish threatened a $7.09 billion sport fishing and tourism industry. Steps taken to stop the entry into the lakes were ineffectual, they alleged.
U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow in Chicago last year rejected the states’ request, concluding they hadn’t shown the requisite imminent harm. A three-judge appellate panel of the U.S. Circuit Court in Chicago today upheld the lower-court ruling on different grounds.

EPA hiring jobless workers for Great Lakes cleanup

EPA will spend $6 million to hire unemployed people who can work on Great Lakes cleanup projects.
Congress has appropriated $775 million over the past two years for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a wide-ranging plan to improve the region’s environmental health.

Among the priorities are cleaning up toxic pollution, fighting invasive species, improving wildlife habitat and protecting watersheds from contaminated runoff. In recent weeks, EPA has been announcing grants for projects around the region from the $300 million allocated for the 2011 fiscal year. The final $6 million from that pot of money will go to the unemployment initiative, said Susan Hedman, EPA’s regional administrator in Chicago.

The newly announced program is unique because it specifically targets jobless workers. The initiative is similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Depression-era program that put the unemployed to work.

EPA will choose projects by the end of September. To qualify, they must provide immediate, direct ecological benefits and be located in areas identified as federal priorities, such as national lakeshores or areas of concern. They also must include a detailed budget and produce measurable results.

Quigley, Walz, Peters Introduce Bill to End Boat Tax Break

Currently, taxpayers are allowed to deduct mortgage interest for up to two homes from their tax returns. Boats equipped with bedding, toilet facilities, and a kitchen qualify even if they aren’t used as a primary residence. The Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for Yachts Act would limit the tax deduction to only those who use their boats as a primary residence.

In 2004, there were approximately 500,000 pleasure boats in the United States large enough to qualify for the tax break, but only around 100,000 people live full time on boats according to the 2000 Census.
The proposal is included in Quigley’s Reinventing Government: The Federal Budget Part II.


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