Michigan House and Senate Agree on Strong Protections for Michigan Water
Contact: Andy Buchsbaum, 734-887-7100
June 23, 2008
Statement by Andy Buchsbaum, Regional Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Office
“The National Wildlife Federation congratulates the Michigan House and Senate for reaching an agreement to pass the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact in Michigan. With an agreement reached by the leadership of both parties and the committees in both chambers, we expect that Michigan will soon join the other Great Lakes states in limiting diversions of Great Lakes water and promoting water conservation within the region.
“While the road has been long and difficult at times, the agreed-upon legislation is an achievement we can all be proud of. The comprehensive, scientifically based water management program created by the implementing legislation will protect the state's waters from overuse and its habitats from degradation. It provides far better protections of Michigan’s waters than existing law.
“As other Great Lakes States explore how to implement the Compact, we hope they will consider Michigan's program as a model.
“Among the major achievements of Michigan’s new legislation:
• It bans diversions (with very limited exceptions) from Michigan waters and the Great Lakes and enacts the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact.
• It establishes a regulatory standard which provides that nobody may create an adverse resource impact from a new or increased removal of 100,000 gallons of water per day, including removal of groundwater.
• It contains special additional protections for thermally-sensitive trout streams.
• It has special provisions to protect Michigan’s waters against bottled water withdrawals.
• It maintains the legislature's recognition that the waters of the state are valuable public natural resources held in trust by the state.
“Bill sponsors and committee chairs Senator Patricia Birkholz (R-Saugatuck) and Representative Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) deserve credit for their leadership on the Compact. Representative Warren’s determination and leadership in the House has allowed this agreement to be achieved. And Senator Birkholz must be specially recognized because of her leadership on this issue today and over the past four years. The Senator was instrumental in establishing and leading the Groundwater Advisory Council and the 2006 groundwater legislation that served as the platform for the current bills, and she has been a tireless champion for reaching this agreement. Because of Senator Birkholz’s and Representative Warren’s good work, Michigan lives up to its name as the Great Lakes State.
“With passage of the agreement by both chambers and Governor Granholm's signature, Michigan will join six other Great Lakes state in ratifying the Compact. Passage in Pennsylvania is expected soon. The final step will be to gain consent of the United States Congress.
“Now that Michigan has reached this historic agreement, all the Great Lakes states will need to join together to make sure that the Compact clears this last hurdle.”
Senior Regional Communications Manager
National Wildlife Federation - Great Lakes Office
213 West Liberty, Suite 200 | Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: 734-887-7109 | Fax: 734-887-7199 | Cell: 734-904-1589