Wis. Governor Announces Agreement on Great Lakes Compact
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle announced that the Great Lakes Compact, a historic accord that will protect one of the world's most precious natural resources, is ready to be signed into law under an agreement reached with legislators. Doyle, who was joined by Republican and Democratic lawmakers, environmental group representatives, and business leaders, called for a special session on April 17.
Doyle thanked Sen. Mark Miller, Rep. Scott Gunderson, and the many environmental, agricultural, and industrial leaders who came to agreement on the compact.
The compact creates unprecedented protections for the Great Lakes and ensures their continued availability for regional economic growth. It will ban long-distance diversions and provide a framework for ensuring sustainable water use in the Great Lakes basin. The new agreement maintains the one-state veto provision of the compact. It also addresses communities partially outside straddling counties, creates for the first time a statewide conservation program, introduces incentives for regional water planning, and develops legislative oversight of the governor's vote on the regional rules implementing the compact.
The Great Lakes generate $55 billion in tourism for the region and create nearly $377 million in personal income from wages and salaries. Wisconsin's harbors handle approximately 44 tons of cargo that support 11,000 jobs and are worth more than $7 billion a year.
The Great Lakes Compact has been signed into law in Illinois, Indiana, New York, and Minnesota as well as both Canadian Provinces of Quebec and Ontario.