For Immediate Release
BUSH SIGNS GREAT LAKES COMPACT
Applaud Historic Action to Protect the Lakes
Illinois—The Great Lakes
Governors today applauded President George W. Bush for signing a joint
resolution of Congress providing consent to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River
Basin Water Resources Compact. The President’s action marks the
final step in the Compact’s approval process thus enabling these historic
protections to become law.
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. The eight Great Lakes States reached a similar, good faith,
agreement with Ontario
and Québec in 2005, which the Provinces are using to amend their existing water
programs for greater regional consistency.
During 2007 and 2008, each of the eight Great Lakes State
legislatures ratified the Compact. Legislative approval was completed by
the U.S. Senate on August 1, 2008, and by the U.S. House of Representatives on
September 23, 2008.
Wisconsin Governor Jim
Doyle, Council of Great Lakes Governors Chair, said, “I applaud President
Bush for his action. Together, we have taken a major step to protect the Great Lakes. I am hopeful that this historic
cooperation will enable us to accelerate our future efforts.”
Jennifer Granholm said, "I thank the President today for signing the Great
Lakes Compact into law. His support ensures that the Great
Lakes will remain a protected national treasure for years to
New York Governor David Paterson said,
"I thank President Bush for carrying out the will of Congress and signing
this important piece of legislation. I proudly announced the state
legislation, earlier this year, that added New York State
to the Great Lakes Compact. The Compact will ensure that harmful water
diversions are controlled and the Great Lakes
ecosystem is protected for future generations."
The Compact includes the following points:
development will be fostered through sustainable use and responsible
management of Basin waters.
- In general, there will be a ban on new diversions
of water from the Basin but limited exceptions could be allowed in
communities near the Basin when rigorous standards are met.
- Communities that apply for an exception will have
a clear, predictable decision making process; standards to be met; and,
opportunities to appeal decisions. These processes and standards do
not exist under current law.
- The States will use a consistent standard to
review proposed uses of Basin water. The States will have
flexibility regarding their water management programs and how to apply
- Regional 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 that may be voluntary or mandatory.
- There is a strong commitment to continued public
involvement in the implementation of the Compact.
A broad, bi-partisan consensus has been built in support of the
Compact. The Compact was developed in collaboration with regional partners
who have also played a key role in its implementation. Members of
Congress, Mayors, local government officials and stakeholders have all been
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.
Additional information is available at www.cglg.org.
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Contact: David Naftzger