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Wisconsin Governor Signs the Great Lakes Compact.

By Kevin Robinson in News on May 28, 2008 2:00PM

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed state legislation yesterday making Wisconsin the fifth state to join the Great Lakes Basin Compact. The compact was created among eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces after a Canadian company proposed shipping water from Lake Ontario to Asia in 1999. The states and provinces reached a voluntary water deal in 2001, then spent four years negotiating language that would go into the law. The agreement bans most diversions of water from the Great Lakes Basin, and establishes procedures to mediate disputes among the states and provinces that surround the Great Lakes.

2008_5_lakefront.jpg"This historic accord means that we will be managing our Great Lakes water in a sustainable way that will protect one of the world's greatest natural resources," Doyle said during a ceremony on Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shoreline. Mayor Daley, however, had another take on Doyle's signature. "Oh, finally. Thank God they realize where the Great Lakes is. Wisconsin has never supported the Great Lakes movement. They wanted to do a lot of things" detrimental to the lake, the mayor said. "We've been in the forefront of really protecting the Great Lakes, and Wisconsin hasn't historically. I'm glad they finally realize how important the Great Lakes is. … The Great Lakes is too important to this region and the future of the region. Water will be equal to oil very shortly," he said. Illinois politicians have not had kind words in the past about how Wisconsin uses the lakefront. In 2004 roundtable at the Shedd Aquarium, Congressmen Mark Kirk (R-10) chided Milwaukee for dumping sewage into the lake. "If there's anything that upsets my constituents - and yours as well - it's cheesehead sewer water," Kirk told Daley.

Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Quebec and Ontario have also signed onto the agreement. Ohio is expected to join this summer, but Michigan and Pennsylvania have yet to approve the legislation. Once all eight states have signed on, the measure must be approved by congress.

Photo by p2wy