With less than two weeks to go before Congress recesses for the summer, the Great Lakes Task Force swiftly introduced the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact on Capitol Hill today. The bipartisan bill requires that the US Congress ratify the Compact signed by all eight Great Lakes States and agreed to by Canada’s provincial premiers of Ontario and Quebec.
The compact will allow the region to manage water use and restoration for the Great Lakes. It was introduced in both the House and Senate and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) is trying to set a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee for the end of July in an attempt to quickly move the bill through the Senate.
“With Wisconsin’s economy and environment so closely tied to the health of the Great Lakes, their protection is essential to our state’s well-being,” Sen. Feingold said in a press statement before adding,”That is why I strongly support the Great Lakes Compact recently ratified by the Great Lakes states including Wisconsin. I congratulate the Governors and the Legislatures of these states for advancing the Compact. Now the ball is in Congress’s court. I am working with my Great Lakes colleagues to push the Compact through Congress. I hope to personally chair hearings on the Compact in the Senate Judiciary Committee. I’m proud of the cooperation that has brought the Compact this far but we will not quit until the Compact, and the protections it contains, are in effect.”
Support for the Compact in Congress is said to be building but it wouldn’t hurt for you to call your representatives and make sure they are co-sponsoring the bill. The new resolution was introduced by George V. Voinovich (R-OH) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) in the Senate and by James Oberstar (D-Minn.), John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) and Steven LaTourette (R-OH) in the House. All 16 of the Great Lakes Senators cosponsored the joint legislation and over 20 house members joined in – some are not even from Great Lakes states! Let’s push this through before the nation becomes absorbed in the next race for the White House.