I skipped town for a little while – just getting back last night. So I’m a bit behind, but here are a few things that happened while I was away:
Ontario Matches Great Lakes Compact; NY Steps Forward
Ontario has passed a bill, unanimously through three bodies apparently, that matches the Great Lakes Compact ratified by Minnesota and Illinois and in various stages of debate in the other 6 Great Lakes states. The Great Lakes Compact creates basin-wide standards for water usage from the Great Lakes. The Compact is not a treaty, but Ontario and Quebec were a part of the Compact development process and their representatives agreed to push identical legislation. Thank you Ontario.
And, New York is one step closer to ratifying the Compact as well. The New York Senate Environment Conservation Committee passed the bill 14-0, which sends it to their Rules Committee. The New York Assembly has already passed the bill.
States Leading the Way
Minnesota Policy Soup has a post up on how state legislatures are tackling environmental issues due to federal inaction. They reference a Council of State Governments listing that includes water quality and quantity, global warming, and other issues in need of state action.
It is being point out that environmental protection is one of the only areas that Minnesota state lawmakers worked well together. Senator Ellen Anderson, one of the environment’s heroes from this session, has a piece in the Pioneer Press highlighting some of the session victories and work that remains yet. The victories include the energy bill signed into law last week.
Minnesota Waters caught the fact that contained within the Game and Fish Omnibus bill was a restriction on residential use of dishwasher detergent containing phosphorus, to begin in 2010. This was one of the early Protect Our Water issues for MEP a few years back. Here’s a 2003 fact sheet (pdf) if you’d like some background. To my knowledge, only Washington State has anything similar.
Even Closer to Home (for me at least)
Ford has sold their Saint Paul hydro dam to Brookfield Power. Brookfield apparently will also be renovating a hydro system at Saint Anthony Falls, just up the river, later this summer.
And speaking of manufacturing in Saint Paul, last week there was a community meeting on repowering the Rock Tenn recycling facility in St. Paul.