Great Lakes Areas of Concern:
What roles are required in cleaning up the most polluted freshwater coastal communities?
Focused on 43 "worst of the worst" polluted Great Lakes coastal regions, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Areas of Concern (AOC) program works with many different stakeholders along the US coast to address the complexities of cleaning up legacy pollution.
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Exploring the roles of the stakeholders involved in the AOC program, this case examines what it takes to tackle the cleanup of areas along the coast of the Great Lakes that have suffered from industrial pollution. After a long period of planning and not much action, the Areas of Concern (AOC) program has seen a recent surge in progress due to funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Through this influx of funding, the roles of federal, state, and local actors have not always worked smoothly together, and the responsibilities of these actors have been muddled.
Muskegon Lake is an example of an AOC that has navigated various groups' cleanup efforts in a way that effectively utilizes each role in the process. Using Muskegon Lake as an example of success, this case navigates the complexities of the AOC program and asks the reader to critically think about what roles each level of actors should hold moving forward.