Beaver County Times and Allegheny Times
Published on timesonline.com on February 1, 2008
Pennsylvania has taken a step toward securing one of its most valuable resources — fresh water.
On Monday, the state House voted unanimously to enroll Pennsylvania in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.
The goal of the compact is for the eight states and two Canadian provinces that border the five Great Lakes to find agreement on how to manage the lakes.
The reason for this is very self-serving — to prevent water hungry states in the southeast and southwest from buying up water rights and diverting the water there. The compact would do that, with limited exceptions, by prohibiting the diversion of water from the lakes and the rivers linking them.
The agreement is needed because the fastest growing parts of the United States don’t have adequate sources of fresh water to supply and sustain their burgeoning populations.
Meanwhile, the Great Lakes hold nearly 20 percent of the world’s fresh water supply, and protecting it from exploitation, as the compact would do, only makes sense.
The measure now goes to the state Senate, which should approve it as soon as possible.