A Challenge to Great Lakes Leaders
This paper is written in the hope that it is not to late for the Governors of the Great Lakes states to revise Annex 2001. Specifically, it is a plea to Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan. We are in eminent danger of losing our most valuable resource, water. There are pro’s and con’s around the proposal and this paper intends to clarify some of the issues.
The Great Lakes Charter Annex Agreement known informally as Annex 2001 was proposed by the Council of Great Lakes Governors, which includes the leaders of eight states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) as well as the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario (“Our State” D2). The proposal is an amendment to the Great Lakes Charter of 1985. In 2001 the Annex declared that withdrawal of “365 million gallons of water annually are too small to regulate.” (DeMare). This would open the door to abuse not only for random diversions but for millions of gallons going overseas.
Annex 2001 could allow water resources to be given away to anyone and George Kuper, head of Michigan’s Council of Great Lakes Industries thinks that’s a “recipe for disaster” (Nikiforuk 16). “Any water diverted out of the basin will reduce in-basin economic activity proportionally,” says Ralph Pentland, an Ottawa water expert (Nikiforuk 16).
Key provisions of the Great Lakes Charter Annex Agreement as of November 14, 2004:
Regulations apply only to new or increased water withdrawals.
Withdrawals within Great Lakes basin, including groundwater, regulated on state or provincial level is averaging at least 100,000 gallons daily for 120 days.
Out-of-basin diversions averaging 1 million gallons daily over 120 days need unanimous approval of eight states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin).
In-basin withdrawals for consumptive use averaging 5 million gallons for 120 days need approval of…