Achieving Environmental Sustainability through Fiscal Policy
Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation series
Edited by Larry Kreiser, Julsuchada Sirisom, Hope Ashiabor and Janet E. Milne
Rahmat O. Tavallali and Paul J. Lee INTRODUCTION The Great Lakes, consisting of Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior, are the world’s largest surface freshwater source. The combined surface area of the lakes is approximately 94 250 square miles(en.wikipedia.org) over eight states, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and two Canadian Providences of Quebec and Ontario. Four of the five lakes form part of the Canada-United States border; the fifth, Lake Michigan, is contained entirely within the United States. Water levels on all five Great Lakes trended downward in the last decade to near-record lows before rebounding some in recent years. That has been attributed to warming trends, and warmer lakes could worsen that problem through greater evaporation (Condon, 2010). Humans have also contributed to the quality of the Great Lakes. Ways that humans have affected the quality of the Great Lakes water over the centuries include sewage disposal, toxic contamination through heavy metals and pesticides, overdevelopment of the water’s edge, runoff from agriculture and urbanization and air pollution (Great-Lakes.net). Other sources of pollution include degradation of phosphorus, oil and hazardous polluting substance from vessels wastes and pollution from shipping sources and activities. The United States Congress first addressed water pollution issues in the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. Portions of this law remain in effect, including the Refuse Act, while others have been superseded by various amendments, including the 1972 Clean Water Act. In order to restore and protect the Great Lakes water quality,...
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