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HOUSE/SENATE LETTER OPPOSING CRANDON GRT LKS DIVERSION



*********************URGENT ALERT*****************	
TO:	           GREAT LAKES ACTIVISTS
FROM: 	LISA S. YEE, NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION, GREAT                           LAKES NATURAL RESOURCE CENTER
RE:	           HOUSE/SENATE SIGN-ON LETTER OPPOSING CRANDON                          DIVERSION (BY 3/13)
DATE:	          3/10/98
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PLEASE DISTRIBUTE FAR AND WIDE TO GREAT LAKES ACTIVISTS
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BACKGROUND:

A LETTER FROM U.S. REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OPPOSING THE DIVERSION OF GROUNDWATER FROM THE GREAT LAKES IS CIRCULATING.
	
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has taken the position that groundwater is NOT part of the Great Lakes, and thus, can be diverted without consent of the Great Lakes Governors.

CALLS NEEDED BY FRIDAY 3/13 TO ASK YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE AND 2 SENATORS TO SIGN ONTO THIS LETTER
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ACTIONS:
1. Call your U.S. Representative and two Senators 1-202-224-3121
(This is the Capitol Switchboard number)
(If you don’t know who your Representative/ Senators are, you can give the switchboard operator your zip code and ask them to look them up and patch you through).
2. Ask them to sign onto the letter to the Pentagon opposing Crandon’s Great Lakes groundwater diversion.
3. If your Representative wants to sign on, ask him/her to contact: Sean in Congressman LaTourette’s office (202) 225-5731.
4. If your Senators want to sign on, ask them to contact: Rochelle Sturtevant in Senator Glenn’s office (202) 224-4229
	
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SIGN-ONS SO FAR INCLUDE:
* Senators:  Glenn (OH), Abraham (MI), Levin (MI), Moynihan (NY) Moseley-Braun (IL)
* Respresentatives: Kaptur (OH), Dingell (MI), Stupak (MI), Rivers (MI), LaTourette (OH), Oberstar (MN), J. Johnson (WI)

BELOW IS A COPY OF THE LETTER.  THANKS FOR YOUR HELP ON THIS!

Lisa S. Yee, Lake Superior & Biodiversity Project Organizer/ Wisconsin Regional Organizer
National Wildlife Federation
Great Lakes Natural Resource Center
506 E. Liberty, 2nd Floor
Ann Arbor, MI  48104-2210
Ph: (734) 769-3351 Fx: (734) 769-1449
E-mail: yee@nwf.org
http://www.nwf.org/greatlakes
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Mr. John H. Zirschky
Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Works
Room 2E570
The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20310-0102

Re: Proposed Diversion of Great Lakes Groundwater by Crandon Mining Co.                     No. 94-01298-IP-DLB

Dear Assistant Secretary Zirschky:

	We are writing to express our strong disapproval of the Army Corps of Engineers’ recent determination that  Section 1109 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (WRDA) applies only to surface waters and not to groundwaters of the Great Lakes Basin.  Section 1109 sets up a protocal of state approval for all diversions of Great Lakes waters outside the Basin.  The Corps outlined its determination in an August 8, 1997, letter to Mr. Rodney Harrill, President of the Crandon Mining Company (CMC).  The letter responds to the CMC’s application for a Department of the Army permit to fill wetlands and divert groundwater in conjunction with the construction and operation of a mine in Forest County, Wisconsin.  The CMC has proposed to draw groundwater from the Great Lakes Basin for use in its mining processes and to discharge the resulting treated wastewater to the Wisconsin River, which resides in the Mississippi River Basin.

	Our concern arises not from the particular facts of this permit application, nor from any opposition to the proposed mine;  indeed, given the opportunity, it is possible that none of the Great Lakes Governors would object to this diversion.  Our concern arises from our conviction that the Army Corps incorrectly by-passed the step of giving the Governors the opportunity to object due to a serious misinterpretation of the Congressional intent of WRDA Sec. 1109.  

	The legislative history of the amendment clearly indicates that our esteemed colleague, Senator Metzenbaum of Ohio, introduced the amendment which became Section 1109 to codify into US law the terms of the Great Lakes Charter, an international agreement with Canada governing diversions.  The Charter defines Great Lakes waters explicitly as *the Great Lakes and all streams, rivers, lakes, connecting channels, and other bodies of water, including tributary groundwater within the Great Lakes Basin.*   Senator Metzenbaum directly refers to the Great Lakes Charter in the following statement of intent, and makes no effort to revise the Charter’s definition of Great Lakes waters as part of that intent:

*This amendment is the product of the concern expressed by Great Lakes officials.  In June 1982, officials from each of the eight Great Lakes States and the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario unanimously approved a resolution opposing any diversions of Great Lakes water without regional consent.

Regional cooperation and regional consent is the intent of this amendment.  It does not prohibit water diversions.  It simply establishes that the jurisdiction over this precious resource remains with the States which hold the water.*

	More importantly, the legislative language itself  defines the provision purpose in inclusive terms:

	*(b) It is therefore declared to be the purpose and policy of Congress in this section—

	(1) to take immediate action to protect the limited quanitity of water available from the Great Lakes system for use within the Great Lakes Basin and in accordance with the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909.*

	The rationales that the Corps has raised to justify its decision in subsequent communications are unconvincing because they are irrelevant to the issue of the scope of Section 1109.  These factors include the exclusion of groundwater from regulation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the Corps’ understanding of a *common meaning* of the terms *Great Lakes* and *tributaries* as referring to surface waters, and the non-binding nature of the Great Lakes Charter.  A routine  examination of the legislative history of WRDA Sec. 1109 would have revealed to the Corps that it was exactly the non-binding nature of the Great Lakes Charter that motivated Congress’ action to codify its terms, including its integrated view of Great Lakes waters, into law.  

	The Corps’ flawed analysis of the Federal authority outlined in WRDA has led it to set an alarming precedent to which we have strong objection. The exclusion of groundwater in policies governing diversion of Great Lakes water is not scientifically sound.  Groundwater often interacts directly with surface water making a hydrological distinction between the two of little practical merit.  Clearly, the diversion of water from a groundwater source that communicates with a surface stream or lake has  the effect of  diverting surface water.  The practical result of such an action results in the diversion of usable water from the Great Lakes system, and, consistent with Section 1109, such an action should be subject to the approval of the eight Great Lakes Governors.  This was the intent of Congress when it passed Section 1109 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, and therefore must be the formal policy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

	If you have any questions regarding this comment, please contact Allegra Cangelosi of the Northeast Midwest Institute at 202-544-5200, or Rochelle Sturtevant of Senator Glenn’s Office at 202-224-4229.
							
Sincerely,