Fast-Pace Ratification!

When Michigan signed the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Compact it brought the planets into perfect alignment for restoration – we only need the US Congress to agree. Soon, no water grubbing sun drenched state dare think of piping our refreshing waters to their thirsty settlements. Now with these eight signatures the idea of restoration and protection of this nation’s greatest source of fresh surface water is ensconced in our collective psyche as we tell Congress and the world, in unison, that restoration is priority number one.

“It is gratifying to see our region uniting as never before to protect the Great Lakes. We must now build on this momentum – working with our Congressional partners to turn these protections into law,” said Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors. The Governors spent the last four years brokering this deal that at times seemed out-of-grasp.

Over the past year, both presidential hopefuls have expressed support for the Compact and they are among more than 20 members of Congress from both parties support ratification. Upon hearing the mighty yelp let loose when the last bit of ink hit paper sending the compact into the hands of Congress, Barack Obama (D-Ill.)and John McCain (R-AZ) expressed their support.

“All eight Great Lakes states have approved the Compact and now it’s time for the Congress and the President to take action. The Compact should be quickly ratified. I will be an original co-sponsor of this legislation with Senator Carl Levin and Senator George Voinovich and will work across the aisle to pass this important bill. I am committed to working to fully implement this Compact to protect America’s truly Great Lakes,” Obama stated in a press release.

Not to be outdone, McCain, in Detroit yesterday, told AP reporters: “I’ve often had dreams of giant pipe that ended up in my backyard in Phoenix. But the fact is that any decision concerning water should be made by the people who own the water. That’s the states.” He added that he can’t imagine any scenario where Great Lakes water would be shipped elsewhere. HOW is relieved that both Presidential hopefuls support the Compact but it is now up to the US Congress to ratify the historic agreement.

Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.), George Voinovich (R-OH) and Representative James Oberstar (D-Minn.) have promised to carry our water compact through the ratification process on Capitol Hill.

We expect the entire Congressional delegation from the Great Lakes to represent our region by becoming original cosponsors on what will be a truly historic commitment. “The Great Lakes Compact is an historic agreement to protect our Great Lakes from water diversions and exports. It is, perhaps, the most significant legal action to protect the Lakes in the last 100 years since the Boundary Waters Treaty between the U.S. and Canada. This Compact on managing Great Lakes water is essential for the environmental and economic health of the region,” Obama stated. Bring on ratification…bring on restoration!

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