Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wisconsin To Approve Great Lakes Compact

Apr 9: Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle announced that the Great Lakes Compact, which he referred to as "a historic accord that will protect one of the world’s most precious natural resources," is ready to be signed into law under an agreement reached with legislators. Governor Doyle, who was joined at New Berlin City Hall by Republican and Democratic lawmakers, environmental group representatives, and business leaders, called for a special session on April 17, 2008.

Doyle said, “This is an outstanding day for all of Wisconsin. Our Great Lakes waters in many ways define who we are, and now the Great Lakes Compact will ensure that we protect this tremendous resource while responsibly using the water we need to prosper and grow.” Governor Doyle thanked Senator Mark Miller (D), Representative Scott Gunderson (R), and the many environmental, agricultural, and industrial leaders who came to agreement on the Great Lakes Compact. Thus far, the Great Lakes Compact has been signed into law in Illinois, Indiana, New York, and Minnesota as well as both Canadian Provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

Doyle indicated in a release that the Compact creates unprecedented protections for the Great Lakes and ensures their continued availability for regional economic growth. It will ban long-distance diversions and provide a framework for ensuring sustainable water use in the Great Lakes basin. The new agreement maintains the one state veto provision of the Compact. It also addresses communities partially outside straddling counties, creates for the first time a statewide conservation program, introduces incentives for regional water planning, and develops legislative oversight of the Governor’s vote on the regional rules implementing the Compact.

Representative Gunderson issued a release saying, "When the Assembly began our review of the Compact, there were a lot of naysayers who said we did not want to pass the Compact. But, I promised from the beginning of this process that we would pass a strong and fair Compact that did not place Wisconsin at an economic disadvantage to our neighboring states. I am pleased to announce with Governor Doyle that, today, we have reached an agreement on the Great Lakes Compact that will not only ensure the waters of the Great Lakes are protected for generations to come, but also allow Southeast Wisconsin communities the opportunity to provide safe drinking water to their residents and businesses.”

Access a release from Governor Doyle (click here). Access a release from Senator Miller (click here). Access a release from Representative Gunderson (click here). Access links to other releases from Senators, Representatives and officials on the Compact agreement (click here, scroll down). Access links to various media coverage on the Compact agreement (click here). Access the WIMS-Great Lakes Environment Blog for additional information and links on the Compact (click here).