Undercurrents: beneath the obvious

March 4, 2007

Status on legislative passage of the Great Lakes Compact – March 2007

UPDATE: see the April 2007 update

On December 13, 2005, the Great Lakes Governors and Premiers signed agreements at the Council of Great Lakes Governors’ (CGLG) Leadership Summit that would provide protections for the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin. The compact won’t take effect until it is endorsed by the region’s eight states and then ratified by Congress.

Changes since January update:

  • On February 20, Minnesota became the first state to pass the Compact. Minnesota already had stricter regulations on water use and only about 15 percent of its area is part of a Great Lakes watershed.
  • Michigan Senate bill 212 introduced

Status by state:

  • Illinois – HB 0375, SB 0050
  • Indiana – SB 0022, SB 0515
  • Michigan –SB 212
  • Minnesota – HF 110 passed February 1, SF 38 passed February 15, Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the legislation next to the Duluth harbor on Lake Superior on February 20.
  • Ohio – no activity
  • Pennsylvania – no activity
  • New York – no activity
  • Wisconsin – no activity

Ohio and Wisconsin opposition to the Compact comes from a provision that calls for water in the Great Lakes basin to be held in “public trust” — see Ohio approval of water pact faces new snag:

  • Private property owners own groundwater beneath their land.
  • States might give up their sovereign right to state-owned water by agreeing to be part of a regional water board of eight states.
  • Criteria for water withdrawals should be made by state legislatures and not governors as in the Compact
  • Permits for withdrawals should be based on anticipated effects on watersheds, not on individual streams and tributaries within them.

For information on the Compact: Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact

Source: CGLG State Legislative Activity to Enact the Compact

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1 Comment »

  1. As always, these summaries are really helpful.

    Comment by robert — March 9, 2007 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

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