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Great Lakes and St. Lawrence
mayors mobilize over Trump
climate/restoration policies

2017-06-15

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

At their annual meeting and conference in Montreal, member mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative passed a resolution urging Congress to revive funding of $300 million recently eliminated from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by the Trump administration. They also vowed to step up their efforts to address climate change despite President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

"This has been a very busy year," said outgoing Chair Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal. "The Trump administration backed out of cutting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for the remainder of 2017, but we must continue the battle for 2018 and beyond. The presence of Asian carp has been confirmed in the St. Lawrence River, which underscores the importance of maintaining the GLRI and the measures put in place for controlling and preventing invading species. 48 million people depend on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence for their drinking water."

In another of several resolutions, mayors of the Cities Initiative also asked the Canadian government to develop a more comprehensive strategy and framework for Great Lakes and St. Lawrence funding.

"Given the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence are a shared responsibility, both federal governments must reflect the importance of the resource in their budgets," said Sandra Cooper, Mayor of Collingwood, Ontario and Vice-Chair of the Cities Initiative. "The mayors of the Cities Initiative will continue working with the Government of Canada to develop a funding strategy for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River to ensure their successful restoration and protection for years to come."

Following the United States departure from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the mayors re-emphasized the increased role of cities in the fight against climate change. "While the President of the United States has bowed out of the Paris Agreement, we are stepping up as cities to lead the charge against climate change," said Paul Dyster, new Chair of the Cities Initiative and Mayor of Niagara Falls, New York.

The mayors also resolved to seek UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve status for the entire Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin, a measure intended to draw international attention to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River as a unique ecosystem of worldwide significance. The resolution encourages the US and Canadian federal governments to pursue creating one of the largest UNESCO Biosphere Reserves on the planet.



The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a coalition of 130 cities from the United States and Canada representing over 17 million people who work together for the long term protection and restoration of the resource. The mayors work closely with state, provincial, federal, tribal, first nation, metis, industry, and non-government representatives from across the basin to protect, restore, and sustain one of the largest freshwater resources in the world.

 
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