Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Great Lakes Compact clears final hurdle

Environment News Service: Great Lakes governors and environmentalists today applauded as the House of Representatives voted 390 to 25 to approve a bill to ensure more sustainable use of the Great Lakes, which contain 90 percent of the fresh surface water in North America. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact has already been passed by the Senate and individually by the legislatures of each of the Great Lakes states. Today's congressional action completes a seven-year-long legislative approval process.The resolution now goes to President George W. Bush, who has committed to sign it.

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, Council of Great Lakes Governors Chair, said, "I applaud the members of Congress for their leadership in protecting the Great Lakes. Today's action reflects a successful partnership - one that we hope to build on in order to take even bolder steps to protect our Great Lakes. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and other partners toward this shared goal."

The eight Great Lakes states reached a similar, good faith, agreement with Ontario and Qu├ębec in 2005, which the provinces are using to amend their existing water programs for greater regional consistency. The compact addresses the growing demand for water and the increased pressure to divert water from the lakes. In general, there will be a ban on new diversions of water from the Great Lakes Basin but limited exceptions could be allowed in communities near the Basin when rigorous standards are met….

The Great Lakes seen from space, NASA, Wikimedia Commons

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