As a 25-year resident of Duluth, I’ve grown pretty attached to this region and its unique blend of natural and cultural resources. I’ve accepted the trade-off of fewer professional opportunities for far better recreational opportunities. This has been called Duluth’s “scenery tax”: Duluthians give up money in order to live in a beautiful place.
Duluth’s economy is holding steady and even growing through tough times. Increasingly, it is our proximity and access to the clear cold waters of Lake Superior that undergird our economic growth. Whether it’s the vibrant brewery scene or the health care professionals who move here so they can surf, experiences are showing that having Lake Superior right here is critical to diversifying and strengthening the economy.
Now the City of Waukesha, in Wisconsin’s Mississippi River, wants to tap Lake Michigan water to continue its economic growth. If Governor Dayton allows that, he would undercut one of the few economic advantages Duluth has. Fortunately, under the terms of the Great Lakes Compact, Dayton can just say no.
If there’s a business that needs plentiful clean water and needs to grow, they are welcome here in Duluth. If you’re looking to resettle your family and you want your kids to swim in a big inland sea, there’s room for you here. Hey, skip Waukesha, Duluth has what you need.
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle saw this back in 2008, when the Great Lakes Compact was being negotiated. He wrote, “One of our greatest competitive advantages in a 21st Century global economy is our water – water that will help Wisconsin businesses grow and draw new businesses to our state.”
MEP has set up an Action Alert so you can let Governor Dayton know how you feel about this.
I hope Governor Dayton understands that we’re doing the best we can with what we have up here. Nature didn’t leave us with deep rich soil. The mineral ores in our bedrock are low grade and have always been exported out of here. But we do have access to a big clear cold Great Lake. I hope he won’t give away our one great competitive advantage.