I first saw the Great Lakes and had the opportunity to swim in Lake Erie in 1967. Coming from the then pristine ocean and fresh waters of Newfoundland, I was unable to fathom the sight, smell or feel of the putrid waters. Over the years I have witnessed the relative success of the joint USA-Canada cleanup of that particular Lake, and have enjoyed getting acquainted with the other four, along with the Great St. Lawrence, "le fleuve" as Quebecers say. To contemplate an oil spill now ...unthinkable!
"Great Lakes waters at risk of an oil spill Both Canada and the U.S. are ill-equipped to respond to spills from oil shipments on the Great Lakes," according to the new report Sinking ship: A summary of legislation governing oil shipping across the Great Lakes and through the St. Lawrence River Basin by the Council of Canadians and the Blue Planet Project. "Tar sands oil has been transported in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin without environmental assessments from the federal or provincial governments, under a regulatory system with gaping holes," said Maude Barlow. "With low oil prices reducing the volume of shipments, now is the time to tighten safety regulations. Governments also need to develop a long-term plan to transition away from fossil fuels and keep oil shipments out of the Great Lakes."