Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Michigan Signs Great Lakes Compact

So, I'm putting together this blog post, smugly thinking, well, we weren't last among the Great Lakes states to sign this, feeling all proud and whatnot... and it turns out that Ed "Sneaky" Rendell beat us to the punch.

Michigan has become the last of the eight Great Lakes states to join a compact designed to protect the region's water.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed legislation approving the compact during a ceremony Wednesday at Oval Beach in the Lake Michigan town of Saugatuck. A day earlier, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell announced he had signed a ratification bill.

He did, did he? Did he do it at the beach? No. I don't think so. (Actually I haven't bothered to check)

Anyway, this is the compact that will ban diversion of Great Lakes water and requires states to regulate their own use. Passed and signed by all eight Great Lakes states, and with identical measures passed by two Canadian provinces, now the compact goes on to Congress - states don't have the authority make treaties with foreign governments. Looks like we might get this approved this year.

The Council of Great Lakes Governors spent four years negotiating the deal amid rising concern that the worldwide freshwater shortage would lead thirsty regions to tap into the lakes.

Measures seeking congressional ratification should be introduced soon, said David Naftzger, executive director of the council. Sens. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, are expected to be primary sponsors.

In the House, support for the pact will be led by Rep. James Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat and chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

More than 20 members of Congress have endorsed the compact, as have Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain. The Bush administration has voiced no opposition.

Amazing. Let's get this done then.

Oh, and Ed? Time to expose you for what you are. I swore I would never use my own pictures to lampoon politicians (it's tacky), but I'm not above posting ones that you put out yourself. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Ed Rendell, Red Wings fan.

Now, don't sneak by us again. Would hate to have to steal more hockey players from you.

Read more about the history of the Great Lakes Compact here.

On a serious note - congratulations to everyone involved in making this happen. Have a feeling this is going to go down as a very important moment in history. With 95% of the country's fresh surface water, protecting the Lakes is of utmost importance to our state and our nation's health and well-being.