Diversion of Great Lakes water will soon be illegal
If you don’t border the Great Lakes, keep your grubby hands out of ’em. That’s the general message of a bill that would bar any major water diversion from Lakes Erie, Ontario, Huron, Michigan, and Superior, unless all eight lake-bordering states approve. The so-called Great Lakes Compact, which has passed Congress and heads to the welcoming pen of President Bush, also holds Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to new conservation standards and requires that they regulate their own large-scale water use. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec have agreed to similar conservation measures. The compact — which exempts diversions of fewer than 5.7 gallons, a favor to bottled-water producers — eases fears that thirsty states and even countries would try to siphon the lakes, which hold 90 percent of North America’s fresh surface water and 20 percent of the world’s supply.