Finally, President G.W. Bush is seeing some progress being made on his 2004 Executive Order to come up with a strategy to restore the Great Lakes, and he is enthusiastically urging an apparently willing Congress to push the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Compact through the ratification process. On the eve of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Compact, the US President released a congratulatory statement to the eight states for the enormous cooperative effort shown in approving the compact.
“Made in the spirit of cooperative conservation, this Compact is the result of many years of close coordination and consensus-building that resulted in the Compact’s approval by the eight Great Lakes States and two Canadian Provinces,” stated President Bush.
The eight Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have enacted the Compact, a regional water agreement that promotes water conservation within the region and protects the lakes from depletion. Congressional consent is required for it to become law, as has been the case with other water compacts around the nation.
The Compact has garnered support from businesses, farmers and conservationists. The region’s governors have listed passage of the Compact as one of nine priorities to protect and restore the Great Lakes—along with efforts to halt invasive species, stop sewage contamination and clean up toxic pollution.
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) chairs the House Judiciary Committee and hopes to mark up and pass out of committee the Compact tomorrow (July 30). The Senate hearing is expected to begin the same afternoon. With just days left in the summer session of Congress, the President has urged the body to ratify the compact before the national race for the Presidency overtakes all other business.
“I strongly urge Congress to provide rapid approval of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact,” said the US President.
We join the President and hope our lawmakers will bring the Compact to the Congress for a vote before the August recess.