MADISON — Governor Doyle called on the Wisconsin Assembly to pass the Great Lakes Compact before the end of their session this week. The Great Lakes Compact passed through the state Senate last week, with a 26-6 bipartisan supermajority. With nearly 35 amendments, the Compact bill is a compromise between a variety of stakeholders, including conservationists, developers, industry, municipalities, and builders. Democrat and Republican senators throughout the state voted to support the bill.
Yesterday, Representative Scott Gunderson, chair of the Assembly Natural Resources committee, held a hearing on the senate bill and stated the Great Lakes Compact may be the most important piece of legislation that he will work on in his career, but that “it has to be done right.” Citizens, conservationists, industry groups, and municipalities registered in support of the Compact bill that came out of the senate. Mike Taft, a farmer from Osseo, WI, called on Rep. Gunderson to defend the Great Lakes with the Compact.
“Certainly, Rep. Gunderson recognizes the importance of this legislation, and we will be interested to see what he introduces. The bill that came out of the senate was a delicate balance of all interested parties – it was a compromise, and we all supported it in the end. We’d hate to see that balance thrown off with a bill that is heavily weighted towards big developers and their corporate lobbyists,” stated Melissa Malott, Water Program Director at Clean Wisconsin.
“Rep. Gunderson and the committee could avoid re-inventing the wheel if they would work with the compromise bill that came out of the Senate,” Malott said.
The Great Lakes Compact was negotiated over the course of four years between the governors and other stakeholders from the eight Great Lakes states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Signed in 2005 by the governors, the Great Lakes Compact is an agreement to protect and manage the Great Lakes water quantity.