Minnesota OKs Great Lakes pact
Published in the Mining Journal on February 23, 2007
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota became the first state to adopt what’s meant to be a multistate compact on Great Lakes water use on Tuesday when Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed legislation next to the Duluth harbor on Lake Superior.
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact isn’t expected to have much effect on Minnesota since the state already has stricter regulations on water use and only about 15 percent of its area is part of a Great Lakes watershed.
It could make a bigger difference in states such as Michigan and Wisconsin, which depend more on Great Lakes water.
The compact would require states to approve any major water diversion outside the Great Lakes watershed and regulate new commercial uses of water.
In some states, the agreement faces criticism from environmental groups who say it falls short of protecting the five lakes. On the other side of the issue, opponents in Ohio and Wisconsin argue that it could trump local control of water use and hurt industries and cities.
‘‘I’ll issue a good-natured challenge to our other Great Lake states to get it done sooner rather than later,’’ Pawlenty said after signing the bill at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
The compact needs the approval of all eight Great Lakes states and Congress to take effect. Ontario and Quebec are also considering whether to sign on.
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