As if we don’t have enough going on, there is yet another group putting pressure on our state administration to give up our public trust responsibilities and approve the first ever diversion of Great Lakes water outside of the basin since the ratification of the Great Lakes Compact. We invite you to learn more about this proposal and consider attending the informational meeting and participate in the public comment opportunity.
As the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem, the Great Lakes are a national treasure. They house 20 percent of all freshwater on the surface of the planet, provide drinking water to 40 million people, create habitat for 3,500 species of plants and animals, and support a $4 billion sports fishing industry.
The Great Lakes Compact was created to protect the Great Lakes as a vital economic and cultural resource. Experts from all over the Great Lakes region have spent over 30 years working together to craft and ultimately ratify a good-faith agreement that serves to protect our Great Lakes for future generations.
The City of Waukesha, Wisconsin wants to build a pipeline to the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Compact bans water diversions outside of the Great Lakes basin except under extraordinary circumstances and only a LAST RESORT, never as a preferred option. A community located in a county that straddles the Great Lakes Basin, like Waukesha, may request water only if they have shown they do not have any viable, safe and sustainable water supply.
Waukesha’s request to divert water outside of the Great Lakes basin is the first time the Great Lakes Compact is being put to the test in how well it will protect our Great Lakes now and in the future. It only takes one Governor to veto an application and there are concerns this could present a dangerous precedent for future diversions for the following reasons:
- Diverting Great Lakes Water is a Last Resort
- Waukesha Failed to Demonstrate that it Needs Great Lakes Water
- Waukesha Wants to Divert Great Lakes Water for Towns that Don’t Need It and Have Not Requested Water
- Waukesha has a Feasible Alternative to meet its Water Needs
- Waukesha’s Plan to Return Water to Great Lakes Raises Concerns
Here’s the information from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on how to submit your input:
- The State of Michigan will hold an informational meeting and accept public comment on the Waukesha, Wisconsin water diversion application submitted to the Great Lakes Compact Council. This community, located within a “straddling county” to the basin, has applied to divert water from Lake Michigan for drinking water due to naturally-occurring radium contamination in its groundwater aquifers.
- The meeting will occur on February 9, 2016 at the Lansing Community College West Campus, located at 5708 Cornerstone Dr., Lansing, Michigan 48917. (Room M119-M122) between 1:00 – 3:00 pm, and repeated again between 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Both sessions of the public meeting will be streamed live at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ihpbe and recorded for later viewing.
- Interested individuals may learn more and submit comments online at www.michigan.gov/waterdiversion. Comments will be accepted until March 1. All comments will be collected by a Michigan review committee, summarized, and forwarded to the Great Lakes Compact Council.