LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today praised State Representative Rebekah Warren for her leadership on landmark water legislation that Granholm signed into law last month and said she looked forward to final action by Congress. The governor made her comments at a ceremonial bill signing event on the Huron River in Ann Arbor just days after the U.S. Senate passed legislation to approve the Great Lakes Compact.
"We have joined with our fellow Great Lakes states in ratifying the Great Lakes Compact, and now the focus is on Congress, which must also ratify the compact for it to take effect," Granholm said. "I am pleased that just last week the U.S. Senate moved quickly to pass their piece of the legislation. We want to ensure that our Great Lakes are protected and preserved for generations to come, and this legislation fulfills that promise."
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. The water legislation also provides the Great Lakes with historic new protections and makes Michigan a world leader in the scientific management of water.
Michigan is 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 want to applaud Representative Warren for her great leadership on this issue," Granholm said. "She worked closely with State Senator Patricia Birkholz - this was truly a bi-partisan effort."
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:
- 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. Resolutions of consent (S.J.Res 45 and H.R. 6577) were introduced in July in both the U.S. House and Senate. The Senate passed S.J. Res 45 on August 1, and the House bill still awaits final approval.
The bills signed on July 9 include: SBs 212 and 860 sponsored by Senator Patricia Birkholz (R-Saugatuck); SB 723 sponsored by Senator Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor); SB 727 sponsored by Senator Ray Basham (D-Taylor); SB 858 sponsored by Senator Gerald Van Woerkom (R-Norton Shores); SB 859 sponsored by Senator Bruce Patterson (R-Canton); HB 4343 sponsored by Representative Kate Ebli (D-Monroe); HB 5065 sponsored by Representative Gary McDowell (D-Rudyard); HB 5066 sponsored by Representative Mark Meadows (D-East Lansing); HB 5067 sponsored by Representative Terry Brown (D-Pigeon); HB 5069 sponsored by Representative Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor); and HB 5073 sponsored by Representative Kathleen Law (D-Gibraltar).
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