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GLIN==> Wisconsin Poised to Act on Great Lakes Compact

Title: Wisconsin Poised to Act on Great Lakes Compact

Alliance for the Great Lakes

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Contact: Joel Brammeier, Alliance Vice President for Policy
312-939-0838 x224

The Wisconsin Legislature is poised to adopt the Great Lakes Compact this week, an action that would for the first time tip the scales toward a majority of Great Lakes states supporting the historic water protections.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and implementation language are included in bill LRB 4367/1, which is scheduled to be considered by the Wisconsin Senate Wednesday. The Assembly expects to take up the bill Wednesday or Thursday.

The compromise bill is the product of long negotiations by the Senate, Assembly and governor in Madison. If passed, the bill will create the broadest compact implementing provisions in the basin.

Notably, Wisconsin's bill does not lock in a state requirement that any Great Lakes water approved for diversion must be returned to the lakes. It also creates a vague restriction on the state's ability to use current federal law to protect the Great Lakes from diversions. These protections won’t come into full force until the compact is ratified by the U.S. Congress.

Already endorsed by Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and New York, the compact must pass each of the Great Lakes states before ratification by Congress. Established two years ago by the region’s governors -- along with companion legislation in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec -- the compact provides a model for a standardized, consensus-based approach to decisions about Great Lakes water use.

Wisconsin's efforts reinforce the need to focus on congressional ratification of the compact, said Sharon Cook, director of the Alliance’s water conservation program.

“The sooner we level the playing field, the sooner we can end having the states playing by eight different sets of rules,” said Cook.

Susan Campbell
Communications Manager
Alliance for the Great Lakes

Visit http://www.greatlakes.org