The advocacy group's homepage is here.
I will only excerpt.
Public meetings on the practice, known as “cargo sweeping” and now under congressional scrutiny, are scheduled for July 15 in Duluth, Minn., and July 17 in Cleveland, Ohio.
“This is the public’s chance to tell the Coast Guard the Great Lakes should not be used as a dumping ground,” said Lyman Welch, Water Quality Program manager for the Alliance. “The Coast Guard should require ships to dispose of their cargo waste properly.”
I find it ironic that due to the courage of one individual on the bench, Miles Lord, (and due to the effort of a handful of courageous lawyers appalled by unsound mining company practices and motivated to litigate the question), the dumping of taconite tailings aka Mesabi mining waste into Lake Superior is, alone, unlawful. That Mesabi mining waste that poisoned the water is what's being pushed by some as a "suitable paving aggregate" under the name, "Mesabi Hard Rock." Be thankful for high shipping costs being a limit on how widespread that mischief reaches.
Curbing the dumping of mining waste into Lake Superior from the mine at Silver Bay was the ultimate outcome of the Reserve Mining litigation that gained national news coverage in the 1970's. I was in law school then, graduating in 1977, and it was something all the Law Reviews and legal news outlets were on top of, as things developed. Unfortunately, now such landmark things as the adverse punitive damages decision about the Exxon Valdez spill, out of that same Court that helped steal the 2000 election victory from Al Gore, get only marginal attention. I will post on that at some point, as it is both an awful, and possibly wide reaching decision the enemies of the earth crafted.
So, yes, Judge Lord curbed the awful practice of dumping dangerous taconite tailings into Lake Superior where they threatened the quality of Duluth drinking water. Yet, ironically, all this other junk-dumping has not been so constrained.
The Alliance for the Great Lakes looks to be wearing the white hat, shooting straight at the bad guys, in the black hats. Bravo. Hit the target.
Please, every environmentally concerned reader, read that article and follow the advice of getting the message out. Contacting your federal elected officials, their staff person(s) advising on environmental matters, is also a helpful step.
Readers of this post who are involved in those local, statewide, and national enviro groups that have any official or unofficial network of informing one another of when a collective contact effort aimed at officials might be wise, should get the network humming on this issue. The Great Lakes are a heritage worth protection.
And - don't endanger any 501(c)(3) tax-free status in getting a message out. If that's a worry, be sure to contact people as an individual, w/o any representation that it is an effort of a tax-exempt group. There is never a good reason to imperil a tax exemption for environmentally sound educational effort, so keep that separate from environmental advocacy.
One caveat - Some may wish to split hairs, that what was dumped into Lake Superior was from east of an arbitrary defined line, not from west of it, with the suggestion that west of that line the presence of asbestos fiber has not yet been shown to exist in the mining waste from there, as is the case east of the line, and that distinction, they argue, should make a difference. The current situation with mesithelioma deaths among miners from all over the Mesabi - Iron Range mining area, and the pending study, suggest that such hair-splitting folks are making distinctions without a difference and that all tailings may prove to be carcinogenic. However, asbestos in drinking water was specifically a concern in the Reserve Mining litigation, as I understand it, without having personally reivewed any of the court records. The Mesabi Hard Rock people are ones noting that the stuff they tout is all to be taken from west of their defined line. That distinction grew from one of the NRRI reports Larry Zanko authored , see, e.g., here and here.