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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release September 23, 1999

     Calls for Moratorium on Export of Fresh Water from Great Lakes

Washington, DC -- Vice President Al Gore called today for a moratorium on the export of Great Lakes water in order to enhance protection of the Great Lakes basin and its economy. The Vice President endorsed bipartisan legislation introduced by Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) that would place a moratorium on bulk diversion of Great Lakes water.

"The Great Lakes basin is a fragile national treasure where the health of the economy and the environment are intricately linked," the Vice President said. "I call on Congress to immediately enact this legislation to help us better protect the freshwater resources that working families in the region depend upon."

A moratorium was recommended in early August by the International Joint Commission, established in 1909 to assist the United States and Canada in decisions regarding shared waterways. In a report entitled "The Waters of the Great Lakes," which responds to public concern about potential exports of Great Lakes water, the Commission urges that U.S. and Canadian federal, state and local governments not allow bulk removal of Great Lakes surface or ground water until further study.

"This moratorium is necessary so that we can learn more about the impacts of removing water from the Lakes and understand the best way to manage and protect this precious natural resource for future generations," the Vice President said.

The proposed legislation, H.R. 2595, is co-sponsored by Representative Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Thomas Barrett (D-WI), among others, and has bipartisan support of Members of Congress representing districts along the Great Lakes.

The International Joint Commission's report, "The Waters of the Great Lakes," can be viewed on the Internet at

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