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Great Lakes Compact Signed by Every Great Lakes State – Now on to Washington

(This is a follow up post on the Great Lakes Compact, an agreement to stop large –scale, out of basin water diversions from the Great Lakes. Great Lakes United did several posts on the Compact in January. To see those posts, click here, and here.)
The eight Great Lakes states have sent a unified message to the rest of the country: our water is staying here. Along with our Canadian Great Lakes neighbors, Ontario and Quebec, the Great Lakes region has finally taken official steps to stop out of basin water diversions. This week, the last state, Michigan, has passed the Great Lakes Compact. The Compact is a legally binding mechanism to ban dangerous out of basin diversions from happening in the U.S. With Michigan’s approval, the compact must now go on to Congress for ratification and then finally the White House.
Timing is very crucial for the Compact. As we are all aware, upstate New York and many Great Lakes’ communities are losing population to areas like Arizona and Las Vegas. With a shift in population, goes a shift in Congressional representation. The 2010 United States Census will most likely lead to a loss in seats for our region and gain for the water thirsty arid regions with growing populations.
It is important that we let our federal congressmen and senators know of the importance of ratifying the Compact. While it may seem unlikely that Phoenix would ever get Lake Erie’s waters, diversions are not uncommon. In-basin diversions occur daily, with water eventually returning to the Lakes. But, if a community is one mile outside of the Basin and its water goes on to another watershed, like the Mississippi River, for example, it is a net loss. If a diversion to a community near the Lakes is allowed now, where can the line be drawn later? It is a dangerous slippery slope that could lead our water thousands of miles away.
For more information and what citizens can do to help the Compact, visit the Council for Great Lakes Governor’s website here.
Also, be sure to contact Senators Clinton and Schumer and all of our representatives in Congress. They were here last week to celebrate the Commercial Slip. Lets make sure they are committed to keeping water in it.

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