Bush, Groups Ask for Quick Action on Great Lakes Pact

On the heels of a statement by President George W. Bush calling for Congress "to provide rapid approval of the Great Lakes Compact," the Alliance for the Great Lakes on July 30 was urging quick action on the pact in testimony at a Senate committee hearing.

"This shows that the Great Lakes aren't just important to us who have them in our back yard," said Alliance for the Great Lakes President Cameron Davis. "They're important to officials all across the country – they see the Great Lakes as a national treasure that their constituents care about."

"This is a historic moment for the Great Lakes," added Davis, who also was testifying on behalf of the Healing Our Waters®-Great Lakes Coalition representing more than 100 environmental groups around the region. "It's one of only a handful of times the states have all come together over the past half century to create a binding blueprint for protecting the water as the lifeblood of the region."

The states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have enacted the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, a regional water agreement to protect against wasteful water withdrawals in the Great Lakes -- home to nearly 20 percent of the world's surface freshwater. The bordering provinces of Ontario and Quebec have signed a companion agreement as part of a parallel process in Canada.

The compact was introduced in both the House and the Senate. For it to become law, Congress must now give its consent -- as it has done with more than 40 other water compacts from around the nation.

"I congratulate the governors and legislatures of the eight states that border the Great Lakes on their conclusion of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact," read the president's statement.

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