Bills seeking to regulate diversion of Great Lakes water advance
Posted January 14, 2008
Bills seeking to restrict the diversion of Great Lakes water to other regions are moving forward quickly with bi-partisan support in the Indiana Legislature.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Energy and Environmental Affairs passed S.B. 45 on a 10-0 vote. The bill now awaits passage by the full Indiana Senate.
Meanwhile, the House Environmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing this Wednesday on H.B. 1060, a similar bill authored by State Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City.
Both bills seek to regulate any diversion of Great Lakes water by implementing the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. S.B. 45 states in part that the Indiana Legislature finds that diverting Great Lakes water would impair or destroy the Great Lakes unless the diversion is conducted in accordance with the compact, an interstate agreement involving the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The bill also says in part that water may not be diverted outside the basin unless conducted in accordance with the compact.
State Sen. Karen Tallian, a co-author of S.B. 45, testified in support of the bill, which is authored by Sen. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield. Tallian said the bill has strong support from an otherwise unlikely coalition consisting of environmentalists, big industry, and Republicans and Democrats.
“We’ve all come to a solution that everyone can agree with,” Tallian said. “There’s been no one to testify against it at any point.”
Illinois and Minnesota have already adopted the compact, while bills to do the same are pending in Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.