Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 3, 2009

Summary of summer Great Lakes water issues

Great Lakes water issues this summer included:

n June 10: U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, introduced House Resolution 551 to clarify language in the 2005 Great Lakes Compact to make clear Congress considers the waters of a Great Lakes Basin a public trust held by the Great Lakes States, and also that water exported as a "product" in any size container is not exempt from the Compact's water diversion ban.

n July 6: Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation successfully blocks Nestle Waters North America's attempt to increase the amount of water it can pump in Mecosta County when the international water giant and a 2,000-member citizens group reach a settlement on the first day of court hearings scheduled to last a week.

n Aug. 28: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approves a permit to allow the Genesee County Drain Commission to withdraw 85 millions gallons of water a day from Lake Huron to serve as a public water supply source for Genesee County, Flint and customer municipalities in Lapeer, Sanilac, Saginaw, and Shiawassee counties, all currently served through the Detroit municipal water system. It would require construction of 65-mile-long pipeline at a cost $600 million. The plan is hailed as a "key to economic development and prosperity" for the Flint region and assailed as an unnecessary "boondoggle," a strategy to get Detroit to lower water rates, and a violation of the "Great Lakes Compact." In mid-September, Cheboygan County Drain Commissioner Dennis Lennox requests an appeal hearing on the permit.

n Sept. 9: State Rep. Dan Scripps, of Northport, introduces House Bill 5319 in the state Legislature to clearly define Michigan's lakes, streams and groundwater as a "public trust."