The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that two U.S. Areas of Concern, Deer Lake in the Lake Superior basin and White Lake in the Lake Michigan basin, have been removed from the binational list of toxic hotspots that were targeted for cleanup in the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
After decades during which only one U.S. Area of Concern was delisted, federal agencies have accelerated cleanup actions during the past five years by using Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding. Three Areas of Concern – including Deer Lake and White Lake – have been delisted since the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative was launched by the Obama Administration in 2010.
The United States and Canada designated 43 Areas of Concern under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, in an effort to target sites contaminated primarily by industrial activity that occurred before modern environmental laws were enacted.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the work we have done to significantly reduce threats to public health, enhance recreational opportunities and benefit local economies and that now, today, Deer Lake and White Lake have been delisted as Areas of Concern,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is accelerating cleanup work in the remaining Areas of Concern, which will bring new economic opportunities to communities all around the Great Lakes.”
“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for the communities involved, and for all of us who care about the Great Lakes,” said Sen. Carl Levin. “The restoration of these two areas of concern shows what we can accomplish with the focus and funding that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative provides, and it should inspire us to redouble our efforts to restore other contaminated areas in the Great Lakes.”
“Today’s historic announcement is a major achievement that reflects the decades of hard work by local communities in the U.P. and West Michigan and the importance of federal funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. “Deer Lake and White Lake are the first areas in Michigan to get a clean bill of health thanks to this federal partnership, which invests in the health of our Great Lakes and waterways. Today’s announcement shows once again the urgent need to invest in partnerships that clean up, restore, and protect our Great Lakes for generations to come.”