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Great Lakes Compact: Another Step Forward

Via Circle of Blue, news that the U.S. House of Representatives has blocked diverting any new water from the Great Lakes and forces bordering states to adhere to new conservation standards. This will prohibit any new diversions of the water to other places.  As the article notes:

“…As of Tuesday, grandiose visions of Lake Michigan pipelines pumping water to parched Arizona began withering in the wake of the congressionally approved Great Lakes Compact. With the Compact ratified, the Great Lakes Basin is one executive signature away from legislation that would prohibit outside parties from exporting large quantities of fresh water from its shores.

…Containing 90 percent of the nation’s fresh water and a fifth of the world’s available reserve, the Great Lakes Basin is a major source of hope and concern as supplies dwindle across the globe.

The Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, after a decade of debate and gestation, was first signed by all eight basin states — Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and lastly Michigan in July. The Senate approved the legislation in August. Canadian provinces Ontario and Quebec have already enacted similar protective measures.

Containing 90 percent of the nation’s fresh water and a fifth of the world’s available reserve, the Great Lakes Basin is a major source of hope and concern as supplies dwindle across the globe.

Although the U.S. House passed the legislation almost unanimously, several representatives voiced significant doubt. It remains too porous, they believe. The compact still allows water to be removed from the basin, so long as it is carried out in containers less than 5.7 gallons.

It also permits emergency extractions as well as transfers for counties that straddle the basin’s borders. Although the Compact gives each state the authority to impose different degrees of regulation and conservation, to some the potential for exploitation is cause enough for alarm.

The Great Lakes Basin consists of eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces (image courtesy of NASA/JPL).

…most believe the Great Lakes Compact is a crucial leap toward securing one of the world’s largest stores of fresh water. According to Representative Sander Levin (MI, D-12), “There is no question that we’re in a much stronger position to protect the Great Lakes with the Compact than without it.”

Senator Carl Levin (MI-D) agreed, telling the Tribune, “Nature has given us so much in the Great Lakes. By passing the Great Lakes Water Compact, we are building on the protections of existing law to preserve this precious resource, ensuring sensible use now so that future generations can benefit from the Great Lakes as we do…”



This entry was posted on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 at 5:12 am and is filed under Canada, Great Lakes, United States.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. 

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