June 24, 2010

Mayors, including Dickert, concerned about oil spill

Mayors of cities on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River are concerned about the Gulf oil spill.

I know -- is that news?

They obviously think so, as they seek assurances that a similar disaster would not happen here; here's the press release they sent out today:
RACINE – At last week’s Seventh Annual Member Meeting and Conference, hosted by Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative expressed serious concern about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

And Racine Mayor John Dickert, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Cities Initiative, is among those emphatic about the need for answers before a disaster occurs.

“It is vital that the leaders that reside on the Great Lakes have concrete answers to the devastation that could affect our Great Lakes before it happens,” Dickert said. “We must learn a valuable lesson from the Gulf and be prepared.”

In a letter sent to the Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, last week, mayors belonging to the coalition requested an immediate meeting to discuss how federal authorities would respond to a major oil spill in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence.

“Our residents depend on the Great Lakes as their main drinking water source and a vital natural resource central to their livelihood,” said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daily, Founding U.S. Chairman on the Cities Initiative. “There is growing concern about the devastating impact a disaster like in the Gulf can have on the Great Lakes.

“Federal officials need to give mayors the information we need to assure our residents that the appropriate response plans are in place in case of this type of emergency.”

Mayors belonging to the Cities Initiative are continuing to seek confirmation from their respective countries that federal agencies have adequate resources to respond to a large-scale spill anywhere in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. The Lakes and River are the source of drinking water for millions of Canadians and Americans.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of over 70 mayors and local officials that works actively with federal, state tribal, first nation, and provincial governments and other stakeholders to advance the protection, restoration, and promotion of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin.