Lipinski Hails Congressional Approval of Compact to Protect Great Lakes

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) praised House passage of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (S.J.Res. 45), a resolution granting congressional approval to an agreement signed by the eight Great Lakes states, including Illinois. The Compact is an agreement to protect the lakes, improve water conservation, and encourage economic growth in the Great Lakes region.  In July, Rep. Lipinski joined a bipartisan group of representatives in introducing the Joint Resolution, and in September the Senate passed the resolution.

"I am pleased that today we are providing the necessary congressional approval to this Compact to protect the Great Lakes," stated Lipinski.  "Now is the time for all of us at the federal, state, and local levels to step up to protect our great resource."

In 2005, the Council of Great Lakes Governors (CGLG), a partnership of the governors of the eight Great Lakes states and the Canadian provincial premiers of Ontario and Quebec, finalized the Compact.  Prior to state implementation, the Compact required consent and approval from the United States Congress.

Specifically, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact does the following:

  • Bans new diversions of water from the Basin with limited exceptions to communities near the Basin;
  • Creates clear goals and standards for communities to apply for exemption status or appeal decisions;
  • Creates a consistent standard of review for proposed uses of Basin water while allowing States the flexibility to develop and maintain water management programs;
  • Encourages sustainable economic development and reasonable use of Basin waters;
  • Develops regional goals and objectives for water conservation and efficiency and similar programs in each of the eight Great Lakes States; and
  • Renews the strong commitment to continued public involvement in the implementation of the Compact.

Rep. Lipinski has been a leader in Congress in protecting Lake Michigan and all of America's waters.  Last year he helped fight back BP's plan to increase the dumping of pollutants into Lake Michigan as they expand a refinery in Whiting, IN.  He also helped introduce the Great Lakes Water Protection Act to ban the dumping of sewage into the Great Lakes and he is a cosponsor of the Clean Water Restoration Act that would reinstitute the protections established by the Clean Water Act 35 years ago.

"The Great Lakes remain one of our most vital environmental and economic resources, particularly for the Chicagoland area," said Lipinski.  "Preserving the sustainability of the Great Lakes and ensuring high environmental standards will improve our most important fresh water supply.  And by encouraging sustainable economic development, we are charting a new course for our future."

(September 23, 2008)


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