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GLIN==> IN Governor signs Great Lakes Compact.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 	February 20, 2008

Indiana Approves Great Lakes Compact 
Indiana Becomes Third State to Adopt Historic Protections for Great

(Indianapolis, IN) On February 20, 2008, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
took a historic step to protect the Great Lakes for present and future
generations by signing the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water
Resources Compact into law.  With growing threats to export Great Lakes
water out of the Basin, Indiana legislators and Governor Daniels joined
together to support adoption of the Great Lakes Compact (Senate Bill 45
– Gard).  

Bill sponsors, Senator Gard (R – Greenfield) and Representative
Pelath (D – Michigan City) made passage of the Compact a priority in
their respective chambers.  The Compact passed unanimously out of the
Senate on January 17th.  The legislation was passed by the House with a
vote of 91-8 on February 12, 2008.   The Great Lakes Compact enjoyed
support from multiple Indiana stakeholders including the environmental,
municipal, business, industrial, and agricultural communities.

“The Indiana Wildlife Federation commends Governor Daniels, Senator
Gard and Representative Pelath for their strong commitment to protecting
and restoring the Great Lakes,” stated John Goss, Executive Director
for the Indiana Wildlife Federation.  “We are proud that Indiana is
the third state to adopt the Great Lakes Compact.  This critical
legislation will allow the state of Indiana along with the other Great
Lakes states to protect wildlife habitat and preserve the recreational
value of one of our most precious natural resources.”

The Compact is the culmination of a five-year process of negotiations
among the eight Great Lakes States. The Compact will protect Great Lakes
water supplies by implementing an effective water management plan,
including a ban on water diversions out of the basin and the promotion
of water conservation measures within the basin. 

The Great Lakes governors, including Indiana Governor Daniels, endorsed
the Compact in December 2005.  To become law it must be adopted by each
state legislature and receive the consent of the U.S. Congress. 
Minnesota and Illinois were the first states to adopt the Compact in
2007.  With Governor Daniels signature today, Indiana became the third
state to adopt the Compact.  Legislation is currently pending in
Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Wisconsin continues to work
towards legislation and hopes to have a bill introduced in 2008.

"For Hoosiers and everyone in the Great Lakes region, the Great Lakes
hold the key to our economic health, to our recreational opportunities,
and to irreplaceable family experiences,” said Tom Anderson, Executive
Director of Save the Dunes Council.  “Diverting water out of the Great
Lakes would be like putting a quarry in the middle of the Grand Canyon. 
We have a responsibility to protect these national treasures.  The Great
Lakes Compact provides us with the protections we need.”

Jeanette Neagu, speaking for the Lake Michigan League of Women Voters
stated:  "Indiana is to be congratulated as the first of the Lake
Michigan states to pass both the Compact and implementing legislation.
We urge the two remaining Lake Michigan states, Wisconsin and Michigan,
to join Illinois and Indiana in giving the Compact the legal power
needed to protect our waters from detrimental diversions beyond the
water basin".

Molly Flanagan, Great Lakes Water Resources Program Manager for the
National Wildlife Federation states, “Passing the Compact is critical
to protecting the Great Lakes. The National Wildlife Federation applauds
the state of Indiana for demonstrating its commitment to protecting the
Great Lakes.  We hope that other states will build on this momentum by
adopting the Great Lakes Compact in 2008.”

Sharon Cook, Director of Water Conservation Programs for the Alliance
for the Great Lakes says "States all across the region are keeping their
eye on each other as the Compact moves steadily forward.  The passage of
the Compact in Indiana is the step we need to keep the other States
moving toward passage."  

The Great Lakes are the world's single largest source of fresh surface
water. They represent 95 percent of the fresh surface water of North
America. The water of the Great Lakes represents a critical resource for
Indiana, providing drinking water for people in the region, supporting
numerous industrial uses, navigation, energy production, recreation and
tourism, and important fish and wildlife habitat. Although seemingly
abundant, less than one percent of the Great Lakes water is renewed each
year, leaving the Lakes vulnerable to depletion.  

Large-scale diversions from the Basin along with mismanagement of water
within the basin could pose serious environmental harm to the entire
Great Lakes system. Lowering water levels could result in impacts to
power generation, agriculture, industry, property values, and tourism. 
Legislatures across the Great Lakes region are reviewing the Great Lakes
Compact as water shortages around the United States are increasing due
to insufficient water conservation policy and drought conditions, and as
the specter of water diversion out of the Great Lakes has propelled the
issue into the 2008 Presidential campaign.  

"Success for the Compact in Indiana resulted from unprecedented
cooperative action by environmental, industry, governmental and other
interests that has increased appreciation for the importance of the
Great Lakes as a resource throughout the state and promises to make this
state a leader in its protection for the future," said Lee Botts, Great
Lakes activist.

Contact Information for Supporting Organizations:
John Goss, Indiana Wildlife Federation, (317) 525-0198
Tom Anderson, Save the Dunes Council, (219) 879-3937
Molly Flanagan, National Wildlife Federation, (614) 582-6392
Sharon Cook, Alliance for the Great Lakes, (414) 232-6051
Lee Botts, Great Lakes Activist, (219) 938-2863
Tim Maloney, Hoosier Environmental Council, (317) 685-8800 ext. 115
Karen Griggs, Indiana Division - Izaak Walton League of America, (260)
Jeanette Neagu, Indiana League of Women Voters, (219) 879-0431
Carey Hamilton, Sierra Club-Hoosier Chapter, (317) 840-2582
Lynn Dennis, The Nature Conservancy of Indiana, (317) 951-8818
Jack Hires, Northwest Indiana Steelheaders (219) 926-3105


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