APPLAUD CONGRESSIONAL INTRODUCTION OF GREAT LAKES
July 23, 2008
Great Lakes Governors today applauded members of Congress for boldly acting to
protect the Great Lakes--St. Lawrence River
Basin. Specifically, members of Congress led by Senator Carl Levin
(D-Michigan), Senator George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), Congressman John Conyers,
Jr. (D-Michigan), Congressman James L. Oberstar (D-Minnesota), Congressman
Vernon J. Ehlers (R-Michigan) and Congressman Steven C. LaTourette (R-Ohio)
introduced a joint resolution providing consent to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence
River Basin Water Resources Compact.
In December 2005, following a nearly five-year negotiation, the
Governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
reached agreement on the Compact. The Compact provides a comprehensive
management framework for achieving sustainable water use and resource
protection. It has been ratified by each of the eight Great Lakes State
legislatures. To become law, Congress must now provide its consent.
Wisconsin Governor Jim
Doyle, Council of Great Lakes Governors Chair, said, “I applaud the
members of Congress for their leadership in protecting the Great
Lakes. It is gratifying to see the consensus that we have
built in our region reflected in the bipartisan Congressional support for this
historic measure. We must now do all that we can to work with our
Congressional partners to turn these protections into law.”
“Today I applaud
the introduction of legislation to approve the Great Lakes Compact and urge
Congress to act quickly.” said Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.
“Once enacted into law, the Compact will ensure that our Great Lakes are protected and preserved for generations
"Passage of the
Great Lakes Compact is central to assuring that harmful water diversions are
controlled and this precious eco-system is protected
for future generations," said New York Governor David Paterson.
"The Great Lakes, constituting nearly twenty percent of the world's
available fresh water and ninety percent of the United States' supply of fresh
surface water, need to be protected and cherished. I applaud the Members
of Congress who are supporting the Great Lakes Compact and the Great Lakes
States’ desire to conserve our resources."
Today’s introduction illustrates the regional and bi-partisan
consensus that has been built in support of the Compact. A substantial
number of members of Congress are original cosponsors of the resolution
introduced today and both of the presumptive nominees of the major parties
(Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) and Senator John McCain (R-Arizona)) have
expressed their support for the Compact.
The Compact includes the following points:
development will be fostered through the sustainable use and responsible
management of Basin waters.
goals and objectives for water conservation and efficiency will be
developed, and they will be reviewed every five years. Each State will
develop and implement a water conservation and efficiency program.
- The collection of
technical data will be strengthened, and the States will share comparable
information, which will improve decision-making by the governments.
- There is a
strong commitment to continued public involvement in the implementation of
Historically, States and
the federal government have supported
interstate compacts to address water supply, water quality and flood control
issues within the hydrological context of watersheds and basins. As of
July 2008, there are at least 41 interstate water compacts that have been
entered into by the party States and consented to by the U.S. Congress over a
period of decades. 45 States and the District of Columbia currently belong to at
least one interstate water compact and many States belong to more than
one. These compacts provide an effective means to manage shared water
resources consistent with our system of constitutional federalism.
The Compact has attracted
the support of key members of Congress, Mayors and local government officials
as well as more than 150 diverse groups of stakeholders who depend on the Great Lakes. More than 1300 State legislators have
voted to approve the Compact—about 95% of all legislators who have cast a
vote on it.
The Great Lakes are a national
treasure—important to our nation and the world as both an environmental
and economic asset. Our national economy depends on the Great
Lakes for industrial uses, hydropower, maritime commerce, agricultural
irrigation and many other uses. The Great Lakes
are also a globally unique and important environmental resource. The
Compact will ensure that the Lakes are used sustainably in order to continue to
provide benefits to us all.
The Governors’ letter sent today to members of Congress, the
Compact and additional information is available at www.cglg.org.
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Contact: David Naftzger