On December 13th, 2005 after nearly five years of negotiations, two public comment periods, and tens of thousands of citizen comments, Great Lakes governors and premiers endorsed the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and its companion bi-national agreement.The agreements provide the most fundamental change to the region’s water laws in the last century.
The agreements protect the Great Lakes from harm by implementing a strong and effective water management system, including protections against water diversions out of the Basin and unwise water use within the Basin. This means closing the door on diversions of water to faraway places like the Middle East and the arid Southwest and also putting our own house in order to ensure that we are using water wisely here at home. The compact would allow the Great Lakes region to maintain control over Great Lakes water in the face of growing demand from across the nation and the world. The agreements guarantee the long-term protection and sound management of Great Lakes water. If implemented they would ensure that the water will be available for the people and wildlife that depend on it and will remain protected for generations to come.
While the endorsement of these agreements is a tremendous victory for the region, it is only the beginning of a process that could take several years to complete. In order for the compact to become binding law in the United States,it must be ratified by each of the eight Great Lakes states’ legislatures and also gain approval from Congress. This is a tall order and will require the active participation and support of Great Lakes citizens like you! You can help make history by contacting your state legislators and letting them know that you support protecting Great Lakes waters and they should too.
For more information:
Molly Flanagan, Chris Grubb (GLAHNF Lake Advisor)
Great Lakes Natural Resource Center • National Wildlife Federation
213 W. Liberty, Suite 200 • Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1398