Governor Granholm Says Water Package Marks Defining Moment in Michigan History

Contact: Megan Brown 517-335-6397

June 25, 2008

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today applauded passage of legislation that will provide the Great Lakes with historic new protections and make Michigan a world leader in the scientific management of water.  The legislation sets standards for sustainable water use within the state borders and marks Michigan's passage of the Great Lakes Compact, a multi-state agreement to protect Great Lakes waters from large scale withdrawals and diversions outside our region. 

"This is a defining moment in Michigan history," Granholm said.  "We must do our part to ensure that our Great Lakes are protected and preserved for generations to come - this legislation fulfills that promise."

Michigan will be the first state in the country to manage both surface water and groundwater as one interconnected system under the compact.

The bipartisan package ratifies the Great Lakes Compact agreement that creates historic protections for the Great Lakes by banning diversions outside the Great Lakes basin with strictly regulated, limited exceptions.  The compact ensures that in those limited circumstances where a diversion proposal can be brought forward for regional review, each Great Lakes governor has veto power based on criteria outlined in the compact. 

"I applaud Senator Patricia Birkholz and Representative Rebekah Warren for their excellent leadership on this issue," Granholm said.  "The Great Lakes literally define Michigan, and this package that passed today represents the best of Michigan's spirit."

The compact also requires each state to develop a comprehensive framework for managing the water resources in a sustainable way within their borders.  The legislation passed today:

  • bans diversions, with very limited exceptions, from Michigan waters and the Great Lakes and enacts the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact;
  • establishes a regulatory standard which provides that no one may create an adverse resource impact from a new or increased removal of 100,000 gallons of water per day, including removal of groundwater;
  • contains special additional protections for thermally-sensitive trout streams;
  • continually ensures that the best scientific data are utilized to assess the impact of water withdrawals on both groundwater and surface water.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, proposed under the Great Lakes Charter Annex Implementing Agreement, was signed in December 2005 by the governors and premiers of the eight states and two provinces that border the Great Lakes.  Following the initial agreement signed in 2005, each state agreed to seek ratification through the legislative process.  Congress must ultimately give its consent for the agreement to take effect.  Governor Granholm has urged Michigan's congressional delegation to work with their colleagues from the region to ensure the compact is quickly ratified once final action is taken by all the Great Lakes states.

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