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UPDATE: Barlow’s tour to tackle critical Great Lakes issues

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow will be taking part in a 7-city tour speaking in defence of the Great Lakes along with community activists and water experts. The tour will provide an opportunity to highlight pressing issues in each of these communities.

Duluth, Minnesota April 4 – 7:30 p.m. St. Scholastica Mitchell Auditorium, College of St. Scholastica, 1200 Kenwood Ave. See event details here.

The Duluth News Tribune has reported, “Officials at Calumet LLC, owners of the Superior oil refinery, are considering building a $25 million crude oil transfer dock in Superior, where oil would be loaded onto tankers and barges and moved across the Great Lakes to refineries in Ontario, Michigan, Ohio and even the East Coast.” Superior, Wisconsin is located on the western tip of Lake Superior, adjacent to Duluth (the two cities together form a single metropolitan area called the Twin Ports). More here.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin April 15 – 5:00 p.m. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Room tbc), 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.

Milwaukee is located on Lake Michigan, just 100 miles along the shoreline from Whiting, Illinois. This year, the BP refinery in Whiting will begin refining more tar sands bitumen from Alberta. About 10 percent of its capacity (about 405,000 barrels a day) now comes from the tar sands. It is fed by the Enbridge pipeline that burst in July 2010 and spilled more than 23,000 barrels of crude oil – with the spill site including Talmadge Creek and a 48-kilometre length of the Kalamazoo River which connects to Lake Michigan. The refinery has its wastewaster treatment plant in Chicago, Illinois, also on Lake Michigan. More here.

Grand Rapids, Michigan April 16 – 7:00 p.m. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, 1000 East Beltline Avenue NE

Grand Rapids is located on Lake Michigan. The Associated Press has reported, “Measurements taken in January show Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have reached their lowest ebb since record keeping began in 1918, and the lakes could set additional records over the next few months.” The significant impact of climate change on lake levels has been highlighted in studies by the International Joint Commission, the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board, the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory, NASA, and the US Geographical Survey. More here.

Rochester, New York April 25 – 7:00 p.m. Monroe Community College, 1000 East Henrietta Rd.

The Democrat and Chronicle in New York state has commented, “The risks (of fracking) may be substantial. Opponents point to the damage wastewater from the process could do were it to find its way into underground aquifers or the region’s Finger Lakes, which provide drinking water for hundreds of thousands, including in Rochester.” The Finger Lakes are located just south of Lake Ontario. Governor Mario Cuomo was on the cusp of approving fracking in New York state, but this decision has now been reportedly delayed for at least a year. More on this here. Toronto, Ontario April 27 2013 Great Lakes Commons Water Forum, 12:00-5:00 p.m. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto. See event details here. Last October, the Toronto Star reported, “Crude oil from western Canada could soon flow across the Greater Toronto Area toward Montreal, according to a notice filed by Enbridge Inc. with the National Energy Board. The notice comes as a study conducted by conservation areas in the GTA warns that a pipeline break could have a ‘significant’ effect on drinking water. …The study modeled the effect of breaks where pipelines cross streams and rivers that flow into Lake Ontario near drinking water intakes.” More here.

Saugeen Shores, Ontario August 1 – 7:00 p.m. Rotary Hall in the Saugeen Shores Town Complex, 600 Tomlinson Drive, Port Elgin

Officials in Saugeen Shores (which includes the towns of Port Elgin and Southampton) have expressed interest in having a high-level nuclear waste repository through a national Nuclear Waste Management Organization process. Saugeen Shores is located directly by Lake Huron and local residents are raising concerns about placing a nuclear waste dump beside one of the Great Lakes. More on this and on opposition to other proposed nuclear waste dumps in other nearby Lake Huron communities here.

Bayfield, Ontario September 28 – 7:00 p.m. Bayfield Town Hall, 11 The Square, Bayfield, ON

Bayfield is located on Lake Huron, just 100 kilometres north of Sarnia, Ontario. The Globe and Mail recently reported that Royal Dutch Shell has unveiled plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Sarnia and then ship that gas on freighters on the Great Lakes. The LNG terminal in Sarnia would be completed by 2016. More on this here.

The Council of Canadians is organizing this second part of the Great Lakes tour with FLOW, On the Commons and other allies. In May 2012, during the first part of this Great Lakes tour, Barlow spoke in Toronto, Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Kingston, Sarnia, Tiny Township, Owen Sound and London. For an overview campaign blog on this Great Lakes Need Great Friends tour, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15523. To read Barlow’s report ‘Our Great Lakes Commons: A People’s Plan to Protect the Great Lakes Forever’, please go to http://canadians.org/greatlakes.