Editorial: Great Lakes challenge
The Buffalo News
Published January 25, 2008
Great Lakes congressmen walked a fine line this week in calling for a major national push to clean up the world’s largest fresh water system. There was no mention of diverting water to other regions of the nation — nor should there be.
It is critically important to the Great Lakes region, where economies struggle, to hang on to a natural resource that could mean everything to regional recovery and a better future. Wednesday’s House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearings brought testimony and congressional commentary on the value of clean water in a world that is running out of that necessity as climate changes and water demands increase. But the strong arguments for funding water-quality cleanups in the lakes region also emphasize the need for the region to get its own act together.
Eight states must ratify the widely support Great Lakes Compact, which sets rules on water diversions outside the lakes basin, before it can be sent to Congress for approval. So far, only two have.
New York, where passage has been held up only by procedural glitches, should get this done. So should the remaining states, so it can get through Congress before the region loses more seats and clout after the 2010 Census.
Cleaning the water is an international responsibility, and more funding is indeed needed. Protecting the water is a regional goal as well, and one that must be met.