Friday, July 15, 2011

The Coming Water Wars

Rosy Mound 5040

For those who haven't heard, Ohio Gov. Kasich and his merry band of teapublican legislators are planning on draining Lake Erie in the name of "jobs". Two Great Lakes governors have now spoken out, and amazingly enough one of them is ours - although it looks like New York's Cuomo is the only one who is talking tough about legal remedies.

The proposal, intended to align the state with the Great Lakes Compact, cleared the Republican-led state Legislature last month over the objections of two former Ohio governors and a former state natural resources director. Newspapers across the state also have urged a veto.

"There is potential legal action" ahead between the states if the Ohio bill becomes law, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday. "We don't want to get involved in a dispute with another state if we can avoid it, and we're going to have conversations because it is a situation that causes us concern.

But "We will do whatever we have to do to protect the rights of New York," he said.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's office also contacted Ohio on Thursday to express concern, said Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols. Nichols said a decision will be announced Friday, ahead of a Monday deadline for the governor to act.

I'm guessing Kasich goes through with it. We find out later today. And if he does, consider this the first major challenge to the intent of the Great Lakes Water Compact. In the years to come, we are probably going to see many, many more.

Any chance we can get the Canadians to weigh in on this?

Update: Wow, wrong. Surprised.

Gov. John Kasich vetoed a bill Friday that would have allowed Ohio factories to pull more water out of Lake Erie, amid pressure from governors from other Great Lakes states who expressed concerned about the measure.

Kasich, a first-term Republican, said in a statement that he was vetoing the bill because portions of it must be improved.

"Namely, Ohio's legislation lacks clear standards for conservation and withdrawals and does not allow for sufficient evaluation and monitoring of withdrawals or usage," he said.

Ohio legislators are scratching their heads and wondering why he didn't say anything before the bill was passed, but that was before other governors took notice. Look for them to try again; perhaps this warning shot will keep states from getting too greedy. You would hope anyway.