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GLIN==> Governor Granholm Recommends Rejection Of Diversion Application

From WIMS Daily, Friday, June 30, 2006:
Governor Granholm Recommends Rejection Of Diversion Application - Jun 28: Governor Granholm forwarded to legislators an application from New Berlin, Wisconsin, to divert Lake Michigan water for drinking water purposes. Granholm indicated that she would not consider the application for diversion. Granholm said, ?Earlier this year, I was proud to sign into law measures that provide Michigan water with the strongest protection in decades. The collective regional focus now needs to be on all states passing, and Congress ratifying, the agreements which will enact the prohibitions on diversion contained in the Agreement I signed with the other Great Lakes governors and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec last year. Our water is our most treasured natural resource, and I will continue to be vigilant in protecting it so that it can continue to inspire and provide for future generations of Michiganians.?
    By letter dated June 13, 2006 from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Governor Granholm received the 37-page application for a proposed water diversion for the City of New Berlin, WI. The application has been forwarded to the legislative committees with jurisdiction over Great Lakes issues via Ken DeBeaussaert, director of the Office of the Great Lakes. A letter from Director DeBeaussaert accompanied the proposal. Granholm indicated that the New Berlin application would be subject to Federal law requiring the approval of all Great Lakes governors for any Great Lakes water diversion. While New Berlin and Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle have not yet asked for formal approval, in keeping within both the letter and the spirit of Michigan law, Granholm has notified the Legislature and the people of Michigan of their proposal. She indicated that currently, Michigan law bans diversions of the kind being proposed by New Berlin. In addition, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact proposed under the Great Lakes Charter Annex Implementing Agreement has not passed a single state Legislature or been approved by Congress. The Agreement was signed in December 2005.

    On June 13, Wisconsin DNR submitted the application and indicated that New Berlin is a "straddling community with complete return of wastewater to the Lake Michigan Basin. The city is divided by the boundary between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River via the Fox River. The city is currently under a consent order to comply with the drinking water standard for radium by December 8, 2006. In the late 1970's WDNR took enforcement actions to require abandonment of New Berlin's two tertiary wastewater treatment plants to connect instead to the regional Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Since that time planning efforts have documented the incorporation of the entire New Berlin community into the regional metropolitan system. Therefore, all diverted water will be returned directly to Lake Michigan. The project identified in this application implements that regional plan." WDNR indicated that the application is "the first project we have reviewed under the new agreement, we are forwarding it to you for any reactions you may wish to provide...We are also willing to host a teleconference to answer any questions or provide any clarification."
    On April 28, 2006, a consultant for the City of New Berlin submitted the application to WDNR based upon guidelines established in the Great Lakes -- St. Lawrence River Basin (Basin) Sustainable Water Resources Agreement (Agreement) and the Great Lakes -- St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Compact (Compact) signed on December 13th, 2005. The consultant indicated, "The city of New Berlin recognizes that these agreements are not binding upon the States or Provinces but rather guides for developing future agreements. Furthermore, the City recognizes that the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, the Water Resources Development Act, and other applicable national and international agreements continue unaffected by these agreements. It is the intent of this application to promote review by the Parties to the Agreements in a spirit of comity and cooperation that the agreement[s] were based upon, as they are reviewed under current law."
    Access a release from Governor Granholm (click here). Access the complete New Berlin application posted on the WIMS-EcoBizPort website (click here). Access the WIMS-EcoBizPort Special Report on Water Management In Michigan & the Great Lakes for extensive background and links (click here).
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