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E-M:/Michigan to Gov Thompson: Don't Steal Great Lakes Water
Enviro-Mich message from email@example.com (A. I. McCombs)
Michigan to Governor Thompson: Don't Steal Great Lakes Water
["Letter from Governor John Engler to Governor Tommy Thompson re proposed
diversion of Great Lakes water" follows this press release]
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation
Environmental Law and Policy Center
National Wildlife Federation
For Immediate Release
February 4, 1998
CONTACT: Brett Hulsey or Peter Browne, Sierra Club 608-257-494]
Cam Davis, NWF, 734-769-3351
Conservation Groups Praise Michigan Decision Challenging Wisconsin's Great
Lakes Diversion for Wolf River Mine
Madison, WI--The Sierra Club, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, National
Wildlife Federation, and ELPC released a letter mailed to Governor Thompson
yesterday by Michigan Governon John Engler and Attorney General Frank
Kelley. The Michigan letter sets back Governor Thompson's efforts to divert
Great Lakes water as part of a mine project on the Wolf River near Crandon,
"This is another roadblock for this poorly planned project," said Brett
Hulsey, Sierra Club Great Lakes Program. "This letter shows Michigan
blowing the whistle on Governor Thompson's attempt to steal 10 billion
gallons of water from the Great Lakes. This is another reason for Wisconsin
to say no to mining to protect our rivers, drinking water, and families."
The mine that would take 300 million gallons per year for over 20 years
from Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes basin.
"Great Lakes water must stay in the Great Lakes," said Wayne Schmidt,
Director of NWF's Great Lakes Natural Resource Center in Ann Arbor, MI.
"Wisconsin's position that Great Lakes groundwater is not Great Lakes water
is wrong. Period. The Great Lakes must be protected for our families and
fisheries, now and into the future."
The letter, dated January 28, 1998, said the diversion is "unquestionably
precedential and presents important legal and public policy issues, not
only in Michigan, but to all the Great Lakes States." Wisconsin contends
that groundwater was not protected by law.
"Governor Thompson is saying drinking from a straw in the top of the glass
is illegal, but drinking from the bottom of the glass is okay," said Albert
Ettinger, attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, of Chicago.
"That defies common sense, and this letter shows Michigan agrees. Wisconsin
and the Army Corps should protect Great Lakes surface and groundwater since
they are connected."
The Army Corps has ruled that groundwater is not water under law in the
Great Lakes Basin. Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes provide drinking water
for 24 million people, including the cities of Green Bay, Milwaukee and
Chicago. Under federal law, states cannot divert water from the Great Lakes
without the permission of all other Great Lakes governors.
"On the heels of today's Assembly vote to pass the mining moratorium bill,
Governor Thompson should sign the mine bill and pull the plug on this
project," said Dave Blouin of the Mining Impact Coalition. "It doesn't make
sense to steal Green Bay's drinking water to line mining company pockets."
The Sierra Club works to educate the public about how to protect our
families, our environment, and our future. The National Wildlife Federation
is committed to protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem. The Wisconsin
Wildlife Federation is committed to protecting Wisconsin's natural
heritage. The Mining Impact Coalition tries to educate the public about the
many social and environmental impacts of mining.
Letter from Governor John Engler to Governor Tommy Thompson re proposed
diversion of Great Lakes water
Faxed copy from: Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin
State of Michigan
Office of the Governor
John Engler, Governor
January 28, 1998
The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson
Governor of Wisconsin
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, Wisconsin 53707
Dear Governor Thompson,
Subject: The Proposed Mining Company Diversion of Great Lakes Basin Waters
We are writing to express our concerns relating to the diversion of waters
from the Great Lakes Basin that may occur in conjunction with the Crandon
Mining Company's (CMC) proposal to build a zinc, lead and copper mine near
Crandon, Wisconsin. Based upon information assembled by our staff which
includes documents from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and
reports produced by CMC's consultant, the groundwater that is intended to
be extracted is hydraulically connected and thus "tributary" to the surface
water of the Great Lakes. It is, therefore, undisputed that waters that are
hydraulically connected to the Great Lakes Basin will be diverted to the
Upper Mississippi River Basin.
The proposed diversion is unquestionably precedential and presents
important legal and public policy issues, not only in Michigan, but to all
the Great Lakes States. Our staff has reviewed the Water Resources
Development Act of 1986 (WRDA), 42 U.S.C. ss1962d-20(d), which prohibits a
diversion of any portion of the Great Lakes within the United States or
from any tributary within the United States, unless such diversion has the
unanimous gubernatorial consent by all Great Lakes Governors. We are aware
that the United States Army Corps of Engineers has opined that the Water
Resources Development Act of 1986 pertains only to surface water
diversions, and not to groundwater extraction. Nevertheless, our research
indicates that a clear preponderance of the case law has held that "waters
of the United States" include tributary groundwater. Moreover, the United
States Army Corp (sic) of Engineers' interpretation is also undermined by
the terms and demonstrable intent of the Great Lakes Compact, the Great
Lakes Charter and Congress' ratification of the Great Lakes Commission,
which are indicative of the understanding that Great Lakes waters include
As one who appreciates and has actively worked to advance the collective
natural resource protection, management and development goals and
objectives of the Great Lakes States, we trust that you will give this
matter your earliest attention and most thoughtful consideration.
Frank J. Kelley
The Honorable Jim Edgar
The Honorable Frank O'Bannon
The Honorable Arne. H. Carlson
The Honorable George E. Pataki
The Honorable George V. Voinovich
The Honorable Thomas J. Ridge
The Honorable James E. Doyle
The Honorable Jim Ryan
The Honorable Jeff Modisett
The Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey, III
The Honorable Dennis C. Vaceo
The Honorable Betty D. Montgomery
The Honorable Michael Fisher
[Note: Transcribed by Dave Blouin, Mining Impact Coalition. Original fax
was nearly illegible.]
For information about Rio Algom's proposed Wolf River mine visit
Mining Impact Coalition at http://www.miningimpacts.net/index.html
"People have the power to redeem the work of fools."
For Mother Earth. . .
For Humanity. . .
A. I. McCombs
P.O. Box 573
Shawano, WI 54166
FAX (Phone first): 715-524-9958
When EarthWINS, Everybody Wins!
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