Environment Picture
Topic: Water Protection

Work turns to nuts and bolts on Great Lakes Compact, water protections

The Michigan Environmental Council has turned to the nuts-and-bolts work of implementing water protection legislation following a pair of huge victories for Michigan’s world-class Great Lakes waters in 2008.

The Great Lakes Compact, an eight-state agreement banning large scale diversion of Great Lakes waters was approved by the states, ratified by Congress, and signed by President George W. Bush in October.

And the Michigan Legislature approved the state’s first scientific resource-based protections for water withdrawal in July. That legislation established protections for sensitive natural areas, requires permits for large water withdrawals from lakes, streams or groundwater; and establishes opportunities for public input into proposed withdrawals. It also incorporates water conservation as an integral part of Michigan’s water protection rules.

The Michigan Environmental Council and dozens of allied groups throughout the state worked for years to pass the protections. MEC was part of the coalition’s Great Lakes, Great Michigan steering committee that also included Clean Water Action, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, the Sierra Club, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation.

MEC is already working with stakeholders and state agencies to ensure that implementation of the science-based approach to water withdrawal permitting is applied fairly and with resource protection as the driving priority.

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