MAYORS CALL FOR HALT TO WEAPONS TRAINING ON THE GREAT LAKES
November 13, 2006
MAYORS CALL FOR HALT TO WEAPONS TRAINING ON
THE GREAT LAKES
Mayors from across the United States and Canada in the Great Lakes and St.
Lawrence Basin today called on the United States Coast Guard to abandon plans to
conduct weapons training in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities
Initiative, a group of mayors from over 80 participating cities in both countries, support
the need for added security but say the safety, health, and environmental risks from the
training with machine guns on the Lakes are too great.
“The proposal to do regular training with automatic weapons is totally contrary to
the long history of peaceful relations and environmental cooperation between the United
States and Canada on the Great Lakes,” said Mayor David Miller of Toronto, Chair of the
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.
Mayors deal with the health and safety of their citizens every day, and fully
understand and appreciate the need for security. At the same time, the mayors believe
that creating unacceptable risks for boaters, anglers, and the over 40 million U.S. and
Canadian citizens who drink the water makes no sense.
“Along with my fellow Great Lakes mayors on both sides of the border, I am
deeply concerned about this issue,” said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, founding
Chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. “We remain concerned about
potential safety issues with boat traffic as well as the unknown impact to the environment
and health of the Great Lakes. We look forward to continuing to work with the Coast
Guard and our Canadian friends on this important issue.”
Mayors attended several of the public hearings held across the basin and voiced
their opinions about the proposal for weapons training. Many people from the boating,
fishing, and environmental community spoke out in praise of the search and rescue work
by the Coast Guard over the years, but said that the risks from the training exercises
would be too great. Serious concerns and questions were also raised about the
environmental study performed by a private contractor for the Coast Guard, especially
the fact that it looked at only five years of impact on the Lakes from the firing. Citizens
at the meetings pointed out that the Coast Guard has alternatives available for training
their people that do not present the threats created by the open-lake firing of machine