New York has joined the Great Lakes Compact, becoming the fourth state to do so. That is a good move.
The governors of eight states signed the compact in 2005. Gov. Eliot Spitzer, soon to be replaced by Lt. Gov. David Paterson, signed legislation authorizing New York to join the compact on March 4 .
On Friday, Lt. Gov. Paterson announced New York's ratification of the pact designed to protect Great Lakes water from being diverted to other parts of the country and world.
Another purpose is to urge conservation of water by the states and two Canadian provinces that border the Great Lakes.
"Unfortunately, water levels in the Great Lakes have seen drastic declines in the last decade, and it is vitally important that we protect and conserve this essential water resource," Mr. Paterson said in a statement.
The compact will reinforce federal law that already gives governors of Great Lakes states the power to block water diversions from the lakes. In addition, the pact will establish guidelines for municipalities in the Great Lakes basin to draw water.
The Great Lakes account for 90 percent of the nation's fresh surface water. It is a precious resource that must be conserved, used wisely and managed properly. The Great Lakes Compact is absolutely necessary.
New York's signing of the treaty, also approved by Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota, advances the process. Other states will soon follow. The compact will help preserve the resource for generations to come.