The efforts to create fair and consistent rules for responsible Great Lakes water use has continued on since Minnesota ratified the Great Lakes Compact in February. Here’s a quick status update from the other seven Great Lakes states:
The Illinois legislature has passed the Compact and it is now awaiting the Governor’s signature, who apparently has until the end of the year to sign off on it and is dealing with budget issues in the mean time.
The New York Senate endorsed the Compact last week. It now needs to go back through the Assembly, which has passed it twice previously and reportedly supports any changes that are in the implementation language of the Senate version. The Assembly was going back into a special session earlier this week, but while I was with Great Lakes advocates earlier this week in Chicago there arose some concern that they might limit the special session to just one topic (which wasn’t the Compact if you can imagine). There seems to be little concern about the Compact finally getting through in New York, it’s just a matter of when.
The Compact was one part of several water-related bills introduced this week in the Michigan legislature. Advocates expect little opposition to the Compact, though the timing remains unknown. The package is being advocated for as a whole currently and it includes strengthening the Compact provisions around bottled water and possibly reforming how the state considers ground water impact with proposed new projects.
The Compact passed the Ohio House last year, but the legislation needs to be reintroduced this year. There is a bit more hesitation in the Senate, where Ohio’s biggest Compact critic hangs his hat, but some of his fellow Republicans have said they’ll work on the bill’s passage once the House sends it over.
A House bill was introduced for this legislation recently and the conversations have begun. No word on timing yet.
Legislation will be introduced at the beginning of the ’08 session this winter, though proponents expect some discussions will begin with legislative hearings before then. Folks at the aforementioned meeting earlier this week were fairly comfortable with their chances for success.
There is a legislative committee currently studying how state laws would need to change to implement the Compact. They are supposed to finish up in a couple of months. Proponents of the Compact expect fall or winter to be the prime time for debate.
Given the endorsement by the eight states, it’ll be on to Congress.