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GLIN==> Minnesota Praised as Water Use Leader

Title: Minnesota Praised as Water Use Leader

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007                               
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joel Brammeier, (312)939-0838 x224            

Great Lakes Citizens’ Organization Praises State as Water Use Leader

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The oldest citizens’ Great Lakes organization in the U.S. and Canada today praised Minnesota for leading the region’s states in adopting the landmark Great Lakes water use compact signed by Great Lakes governors just more than a year ago.

“This is a monumental step forward for protecting the Great Lakes waters we all revere,” said Joel Brammeier, associate director of policy at the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “The longer the remaining seven states delay, the more they invite Congress to step in and establish water use standards for them.”

The praise comes after Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (HF110/SF 38) into law on Tuesday.

The measure to protect the waters of the Great Lakes – a vast yet vulnerable resource that supplies 40 million people with clean drinking water -- passed this week by a vote of 97 to 35 in the Minnesota House. The bill overcame objections largely based on concerns about the loss of state sovereignty on water use decisions.

“Minnesota’s new law will only enhance state sovereignty,” said Brammeier. “Congress requested standards years ago. If we want to keep decision making here at home, states need to pass laws at home -- now -- that guarantee our fair control of Great Lakes waters.”

The new Minnesota law, introduced by state Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) provides an insurance policy for industry and tourism on Lake Superior’s North Shore, Brammeier noted.

The Compact, signed by the governors of all eight Great Lakes states in December 2005 in Milwaukee, will provide a set of uniform, binding water use standards for the region. Among its key protections: a requirement for water conservation measures to ensure limited harm to Great Lakes ecosystems; public participation and enforcement; and state flexibility to go beyond the minimum protections in the Compact.

Once endorsed by the legislatures of all the Great Lakes states, the Compact moves to the U.S. Congress for final ratification. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec are considering a complementary agreement that mirrors the Compact.

Major funding for the Alliance’s water conservation program is generously provided by the Brico Fund in Milwaukee and members of the Alliance.

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Formed in 1970, the Alliance for the Great Lakes (formerly the Lake Michigan Federation) is the oldest citizens' Great Lakes organization in North America. Its mission is to conserve and restore the world's largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife. More about the Alliance is online at www.greatlakes.org.

Susan Campbell
Communications Manager
Alliance for the Great Lakes

Visit http://www.greatlakes.org