Lakes Article: Great
Lakes Water Compact advisory committee begins writing rules on industrial use
March 06, 2009
Columbus - Ohio's first
step toward putting the Great Lakes Water Compact into effect was strangely similar
Thursday to last year's effort to get it approved in the Ohio Senate - with Geauga
County Republican Sen. Tim Grendell providing opposition.
The compact, an
eight-state, two-country agreement that became law Dec. 8, is generally aimed
at two issues: preventing diversion of large amounts of water out of the Great
Lakes and better conserving water within the basin.
On Thursday, a 28-member
compact advisory committee met for the first time to begin writing regulations
to make that happen. It will write regulations for large industrial users of water
and voluntary conservation guidelines for anyone who uses water within the Lake
The watershed line runs roughly across the top third
of the state, including all or part of 27 of Ohio's 88 counties. Water that falls
north of that line drains into Lake Erie; south of that line, it eventually makes
its way to the Ohio River.
But Grendell - who last year nearly single-handedly
stalled passage of the compact in Ohio over private-property and water-rights
issues - complained when Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Sean Logan
told the committee that its rules would eventually be in effect for all Ohio residents.
is a big issue because I don't think that's what the legislators had in mind,"
Grendell said. "Today the director confirmed my concerns that whatever regulations
this committee finally comes up with will apply to all 88 counties. I'm pretty
sure that people in southern Ohio are going to be very surprised to hear that."
said the committee would stick to regulating within the Lake Erie basin - but
agreed that eventually the ODNR would have to apply them statewide.
need to think about how it would be applicable throughout the state," he
said. "In other words, the goals that we're accomplishing are equally admirable
goals for the Ohio River basin as well and that's wise use and conservation."
what those regulations will look like will be hashed out by the committee over
the next 18 months, but they are expected to affect only users with a capacity
of more than 100,000 gallons a day - the threshold at which Ohio already requires
The committee must send by Dec. 8 the list of Ohio users of
more than 100,000 gallons a day to a regional body representing the eight Great
Lakes states and two Canadian provinces. Included in that baseline list will be
the largest user - steel company ArcelorMittal, with a capacity of 343 million
gallons a day - down to moderate users like farmers and small companies.
the 28 committee members are nine representing business or development interests;
nine representing government; six representing environmental groups; and one each
from science, education, agriculture and an at-large member representing the public.