Compact now moves to Congress for consent

SAUGATUCK, MICH. — With the signature of Governor Jennifer Granholm today, Michigan became the eighth and final Great Lakes state to adopt the Great Lakes Compact, a historic agreement between eight states and two Canadian provinces to not divert water outside of the Great Lakes region. The compact will now move to the U.S. Congress for ratification.

“Today is a historic day for the Great Lakes and for the millions of people who enjoy the beauty, recreation, and industry they provide,” said Melissa Malott, water program director at Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “The Great Lakes states should be proud of a strong agreement that will help preserve one of the nation’s most treasured resources.”

The U.S. Congress asked the Great Lakes states to develop a policy to protect Great Lakes water in the 2000 Water Resources Development Act after it was discovered that the Canadian province of Ontario permitted selling tankers full of Great Lakes water to Asia.

“The need to protect Great Lakes water is evident,” Malott said. “Diverting water from the Great Lakes could lower lake levels, render shipping channels useless, and harm ecosystems, which would threaten the environment and economy of the Great Lakes region.”

The U.S. Congress now needs only to consent to the agreement for it to become finalized and binding.

“We hope that Congress will move swiftly to implement this historic agreement,” Malott said. “This Compact represents a carefully constructed compromise that will help ensure that Great Lakes water is protected for future generations to enjoy.”