I am disappointed to read that the Granholm Administration and the DEQ Director advocate staying Judge Root's decision. I see no benefit in their action.
The Governor is free to craft a comprehensive region-wide (state-wide?) policy to provide clear regulatory direction at any time. My experience tells me that 'comprehensive' means 'long delays'; 'region-wide' means 'not applicable in most instances'; and 'clear regulatory direction' is an oxymoron. Claiming a plan is coming early in 2004 does not support calling for a delay of this decision, today. The Director and Governor believe a stay is appropriate because it allows time to craft a water withdrawal policy. The stay is not appropriate at all -- especially for that reason. The stay perpetuates the current condition; it does not alter it. The time to craft a new policy is on the heels of a victory. I guess the Director and the Governor do not view Judge Root's decision as a victory.
Upon reading Judge Root's decision, I believe he has provided clear direction and a plan that can be implemented state-wide. Maybe, he has stolen a little bit of the Governor's thunder.
A few other items in the Press release struck me as odd:
1) The DEQ will commit to increased water quantity monitoring to determine if an impact is occurring. This is a laughable waste of resources, and it comes from a department director crying for additional funds. Judge Root already determined an impact is occurring. (He did your job for you.)
2) The governor is free to propose legislation, the Legislature is free to enact legislation, but it is still the Courts that interpret the legislation. They did.
3) The DEQ claims their data show water levels in the area are at an all time high. I did not read that in the decision. That leads me to question the claim. If the claim were true, it certainly would strengthen Nestle's position. Maybe it was not presented. Maybe it is not relevant; the judge did not believe the artificially high level of the lake was relevant to the wetlands impact. Maybe it is false. Judge this for yourself.
Our Great Lakes Basin water is not a commodity; it is our natural resource. Keep the Lakes Great.