At a recent news conference and bill signing on the Lake Michigan shore near Saugatuck, Republicans and Democrats alike agreed that they had just saved the state's water resources.
"Our Great Lakes water belongs to everyone; the waters are not Democrat or Republican," said state Sen. Patricia Birkholz, chairwoman of the Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee in a news release.
The sentiment is wonderful, but that's not what the legislation does.
As far as I understand it, the Compact wasn't supposed to be the end-all be-all of water protection. As I understand it, environmental groups in Michigan were hoping to get associated groundwater protections passed through the state Legislature at the same time. The Compact would go through, even with its flaws, and the little plastic bottle loophole would hopefully get closed up at the state level.
Didn't happen. Obviously, there's more work to be done.On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 12:07 PM, ecothinker <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Then I fail to understand what all the brouhaha has been about. What's the difference between building a pipeline and sending out the water in 20 litre bottles?—except perhaps that some private corporation will make money while taking the water for free.
There is an elephant in the closet with us that seems to be escaping attention: ownership of the Commons. By commons I mean the parts of the planet that are owned in common—the air we breathe, the water in the Great Lakes, the fish in the oceans and on and on. Thus far no one has asked me about my share of the commons—they've just helped themselves, without a by-your-leave. As our population grows, the noose of failing ecosystems tightens. (Apologies for the mixing of metaphors.)
From: Chris Reader [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 11:48 AM
Subject: Re: E-M:/ RE: / U.S. lawyer warns water pact will deplete Great Lakes
I think a lot of people on this list are aware of that loophole (Nestle), and thus this isn't really news to anyone. I'd venture to say nearly everyone agrees with Mr. Olsen.
On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 11:45 AM, ecothinker <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I'm surprised not to see any comments from others on this list regarding the 'catch' in the compact. Was this just something that slid in under the radar?
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of HAMILTREEF@aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 1:43 PM
Subject: E-M:/ U.S. lawyer warns water pact will deplete Great Lakes
07/22/08 THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — A top American environmental lawyer says the fine print of an accord meant to protect the Great Lakes opens the way for the "privatization" of the world's greatest source of fresh water.
And James Olsen tells a Toronto newspaper that Canadians should be worried.
The Great Lakes Compact, agreed to by eight U.S. states, and linked to Ontario and Quebec through a side deal, is now before the American Congress.
The pact prohibits the bulk diversion of water from the Great Lakes, but Olsen says it still allows private companies to take water out in containers, as long as they are less than 20 litres in volume.
The catch, says Olsen, is that there's no limit on how many containers a business, such as a major bottler, can take.
He says that sets a dangerous legal precedent giving water a "product" exemption from the diversion ban on Great Lakes water.
A spokesperson for the Ontario environment ministry said Monday that people shouldn't worry about the Great Lakes.
He told the newspaper he recognizes "many people have expressed concerns about water bottlers in Ontario, particularly multinationals taking the resource out of the watersheds," but stressed that less then one per cent is taken by global corporations.
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