By Cheryl Mendoza, GLAHNF Regional Policy and Network Advisor
The development of laws solidifying the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and Agreement is on the rise, thanks in part to all of you who continue to put pressure on decision-makers to make sure we properly care for our Great Lakes. The challenge now is to make sure the Compact and Agreement result in the strongest possible protections for the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and companion Agreement are the product of over four years of negotiations between the eight Great Lakes Governors and Premiers of Ontario and Quebec.
With input of a 39-member advisory panel and thousands of citizens, the Compact and Agreement provide guidelines for sound water management, preventing harm to our magnificent water resources and stopping far off diversions. For the Compact to become legally binding, each of the eight Great Lakes state legislatures must pass the Compact and gain approval from Congress. On the Canadian side, the provinces have agreed to implement similar laws to ensure the entire Great Lakes basin is protected. Here is what’s happening in each of the states and provinces, along with contact information for getting involved.
New York – The Senate will be coming back in mid-July and is expected to take up the Compact. To learn how to get involved, contact Katherine Nadeau of Environmental Advocates of New York (518) 462-5526 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pennsylvania – A stakeholder group is developing language to implement the Compact, which could be introduced as early as August. To learn how to get involved, contact Mark Gorman of Pennsylvania Environmental Council at (814) 332-2946 or email@example.com.
Ohio – The Compact is expected to be introduced in the House this fall, for the second time. To learn how to get involved, contact Kristy Meyer at the Ohio Environmental Council, (614) 487-7506 or kmeyer@theOEC.org.
Indiana – There will be public meetings in lakeshore areas this August and September. The Compact and implementing legislation is expected to be introduced in January of 2008. To learn how to get involved, contact Molly Flannagan at National Wildlife Federation at (734) 769-3351 or Flanaganm@nwf.org
Illinois – The Compact has passed out of the legislature (see story on page 5) and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.To learn how to get involved, contact Joel Brammeier of the Alliance for the Great Lakes at (312) 939-0838 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wisconsin – The Compact is expected to be introduced in September or October. To learn how to get involved, contact Melissa Malott at Clean Wisconsin, (608) 251-7020 or email@example.com.
Minnesota – The Compact was passed in February of 2007. To learn how to get involved, contact Julie O’Leary at Minnesota Environmental Partnership at 218-727-0800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan – The Compact has been introduced in the House and Senate. To learn how to get involved, contact Grenetta Thomassey at Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council at email@example.com or 231-347-1181.
Ontario – Legislation was passed in June. To learn how to get involved, contact Sarah Miller at the Canadian Environmental Law Association, (416) 960-2284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quebec – A new law to implement the Agreement is under development and expected to be completed in one year. To learn how to get involved, contact Marc Hudon at Nature Quebec at (418) 543-9681 or email@example.com.