Great Lakes compact now moves to Congress

SAUGATUCK, Michigan – Michigan became the last state to approve the Great Lakes Compact on Wednesday, with Govern Granholm formally approving the compact. Before it can become official US policy however, the international treaty needs to move through the US Congress where expectations are high that it will pass, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The Compact is intended to protect the Great Lakes Basin from overdraw by preventing the export of large quantities of water to areas outside the Great Lakes region. Some experts, however, have reservations as to the agreement’s impact.

It’s not that there aren’t good things in the Compact like the diversion ban, it’s there. It’s that it could be whittled away.

–James M. Olson

In an interview with Circle of Blue, James M. Olson, an environmental lawyer specializing in natural resource law, highlighted the possible unexpected consequences of the Compact. He argues that while the Compact’s aim is to prevent the private exploitation of water, its very language may make privatization easier.

“We’re talking about legal barriers that could be removed more easily because of the way the Compact is not written, which if they were removed would lead towards the larger, quantifiable problems,” Olson told Circle of Blue.

Additional Resources:
Read the entire text of the James M. Olson interview here

Detriot Free Press: Granholm signs water protection pact.

New York Times: Michigan: Compact on Great Lakes Is Approved

Image provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

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