Saturday, July 09, 2011

Letter: Proposed Ohio law threatens Great Lakes, violates international agreements

Editor's Note: This letter, or a version of it, has been published in other media outlets, most recently the Lansing State Journal online. We are reprinting it here with the permission of the author, Catherine Parker of Marquette, a member of WAVE (Water Action Vital Earth).

Governor John Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, Oh 43215-6117

Dear Governor Kasich,

Have you seen the Aral Sea? What was once the fourth biggest inland sea is now mostly desert! It does not seem wise to implement lax regulations for water usage, particularly when Lakes Erie and Michigan already have, by far the largest water withdrawals in the Great Lakes system.

We are stewards of the most remarkable body of water on this planet. Collectively, the Great Lakes contain about 84 percent of the fresh surface water in North America and 21 percent of the fresh surface water in the world! Fresh water is a finite and increasingly valuable global resource -- critical for business, yes, but, even more so, for sustaining life itself.

The proposed law, which would require permits only for operations that tap more than 5 million gallons of water a day from Lake Erie, more than 2 million from rivers or groundwater, or more than 300,000 from designated "high quality" streams, is special interest legislation that is not consistent with international agreements governing the use of these waters.

The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, a legally binding interstate agreement, requires its members to plan for the welfare and development of the water resources of the Basin as a whole.

As a citizen of the state of Michigan, residing on the south shore of our great Lake Superior, I view bills such as the one that was recently passed by both houses of the Ohio legislature as a threat to the future of the entire Basin.

I urge you to abide by the spirit and intentions of the Compact. The waters of the Great Lakes Basin are to be held in trust for the public, and decisions regarding its usage and protections should be consistent with standards adopted by all members.

Please do not sign this bill.

Thank you,
Catherine Parker, for WAVE
Marquette, MI

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