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Highlights

GAO made a review to determine whether the United States is meeting the objectives of the U.S.-Canadian Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Congress, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Administrator of EPA, should determine: (1) whether the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement objectives and commitments are overly ambitious; and (2) whether sufficient funding to meet Agreement objectives and commitments can be provided given current economic and budgetary conditions.
Closed - Not Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Congress should pass legislation currently pending which would amend the National Ocean Pollution Research and Development and Monitoring Planning Act of 1978 to require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish a Great Lakes research office.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Environmental Protection Agency The Administrator, EPA, should direct the Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) to develop a comprehensive plan and strategy to address phosphorus, nonpoint, and toxic pollution problems in the Great Lakes Basin. The Administrator should direct GLNPO to: (1) revise its interagency agreement to include other federal agencies with responsibilities for nonpoint programs affecting the Great Lakes; (2) serve as the coordinating mechanism for Great Lakes Basin water quality plans being developed by areawide agencies and the states and consolidate the individual state and areawide plans into an overall basin plan; and (3) enter into an interagency agreement with NOAA to define the responsibilities of NOAA and EPA concerning Great Lakes research activities.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Environmental Protection Agency The Administrator, EPA, should direct GLNPO to develop a surveillance and monitoring plan for the U.S. portion of the Great Lakes. Such a plan should: (1) delineate the agencies involved in Great Lakes surveillance and monitoring activities; (2) include methods and procedures to ensure that monitoring activities are carried out promptly and that the data gathered are complete and consistent in order to provide meaningful evaluations and comparative analyses; and (3) include procedures to ensure that U.S. and Canadian monitoring efforts are consistent.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Environmental Protection Agency The Administrator, EPA, should raise GLNPO to a high level in the organization and give it the authority and resources necessary to: (1) develop and implement specific action plans to carry out U.S. responsibilities under the Agreement; (2) coordinate internal EPA actions aimed at improving Great Lakes water quality; (3) coordinate with other federal agencies and the states to ensure their input in developing water quality strategies and their support in achieving Agreement objectives; and (4) serve as the liaison with and provide input to the International Joint Commission and EPA counterparts in Canada.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Environmental Protection Agency The Administrator, EPA, should direct GLNPO and the various EPA organizational elements involved in Great Lakes activities to enter into agreements specifically delineating: (1) the Great Lakes duties and responsibilities of each entity; (2) timeframes for carrying out assigned duties and responsibilities; and (3) the resources to be committed to these duties and responsibilities.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

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