Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Indiana & New York Close To Compact Enactment

Feb 12: The Alliance for the Great Lakes (formerly the Lake Michigan Federation) issued a release applauding the Indiana legislature for endorsing the Great Lakes Compact, and urged that the Governor sign it into law promptly and that those states that have yet to pass the legislation move quickly toward adoption. The Alliance said that following a 91-8 vote in the House and an earlier unanimous vote in the Senate, Indiana and New York are now poised to become the third and fourth states in the region to adopt the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The compact is also headed to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer after passing that State’s Assembly February 11. Minnesota and Illinois were the first of the eight Great Lakes states to adopt the compact and the critical protections it provides.

Sharon Cook, water conservation program director for the Alliance said, “The states all across the Great Lakes are keeping a watchful eye on each other’s legislatures. The compact’s passage by the Indiana General Assembly should prompt other states to adopt the compact now. The compact will set consistent, reasonable standards that all states within the basin must use. With predicted drops in congressional representation, locking water protections in now is the best defense against unsustainable use of the Great Lakes.”

Endorsed by the region’s eight state governors and two Canadian premiers in 2005, the compact must pass in each Great Lakes state before heading to the U.S. Congress for ratification. Legislatures in the remaining states are in varying stages of acting on compact, with bills pending in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Wisconsin’s legislation is still being drafted, which the Alliance said was a noticeable lag in a state where recent polling shows an overwhelming majority -- 80 percent -- of residents support the compact’s passage. Adopting the compact, as well as companion laws in the provinces of Ontario and Qu├ębec, would provide a first-of-its-kind model for a consensus-based, basin-wide approach to decisions about how much and how far away Great Lakes water can be used.

Access a release from the Alliance (click here). Access details on individual state activity in enacting the Compact from the Council of Great Lakes Governors website (click here). Access links to various media reports (click here).