INDIANAPOLIS (February 20, 2008) – Governor Mitch Daniels today signed the Great Lakes compact, SEA 45, making Indiana the first state to implement the added protections the interstate agreement provides.
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact was developed over five years with representatives of business, industry, agriculture, environmental and other interests, as well as state officials. Governors of eight states – New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana – reached agreement on the compact late in 2005. The eight states also reached a similar agreement with Ontario and Quebec in 2005.
“Today, we celebrate an achievement that groups who don’t always see eye-to-eye came together to support. With this action, we’re renewing our commitment to put in place new protections for one of our greatest resources,” said Daniels.
Daniels said Senator Bev Gard, R-Greenfield, and Representative Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, provided leadership that led to overwhelming support from legislators in both houses.
The compact ensures that authority over Great Lakes water uses stays in the region; that economic development will be fostered through sustainable use and responsible management of the waters; that states will development regional goals and objectives for water conservation and efficiency and collect and share technical data to improve decision-making; and continues a strong commitment to public involvement in implementation of the compact.
The state legislatures in each state must approve the compact and enact implementation language, and the Congress also must give its consent. Indiana is the first state to ratify and sign the compact with implementation language. Minnesota and Illinois signed the compact into law in 2007 but still need implementation language, the New York legislature recently approved the compact and it is awaiting signature, and bills are pending in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Introduction of the legislation is expected in Wisconsin soon.