Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Poll Indicates 80% Support For Great Lakes Compact

A poll commissioned by Wisconsin conservation groups, conducted by the UW Survey Center and released Monday, indicates 80% support statewide for adoption of the Great Lakes Compact.

That's good news for advocates of the Compact, and for backers of strong water conservation policy in Wisconsin and across the Great Lakes.

Details provided by the environmental group Clean Wisconsin to the Superior Daily Telegram indicate widespread bi-partisan support for a strong version of the Compact, with pro-Compact sentiment also measured both near the Great Lakes, and in communities far from the Great Lakes basin in Wisconsin, too.

Among the poll findings, as reported by the Daily Telegram:

"• 86 percent say it is important to provide further oversight and regulation before bottling and selling Great Lakes water.

"• 86 percent say it is important to prevent local communities from changing boundaries to qualify to take water from the Great Lakes.

"• 94 percent say it is important to require local communities to use water conservation programs before increasing use of Great Lakes water.

"The vast majority of those surveyed indicated they favor programs in their communities to help conserve water, and think dropping water levels in Wisconsin’s lakes, streams and groundwater is a serious problem."

The Journal Sentinel's coverage is here.

Legislation to approve the Compact has been stalled in Wisconsin since the eight-state agreement was approved by the Great Lakes states' governors in December, 2005.

A Wisconsin bill is expected to be introduced within ten days, but its specific language is apparently still being tweaked at the State Capitol, as proponents of various versions of the legislation with differing water conservation and diversion management measures are being pushed by Compact supporters or opponents.

The poll should inform legislators that Wisconsinites want a strong bill, not one shot through with loopholes and exemptions that weaken, not strengthen, the Compact's water preservation goals.

It took more than four years to negotiate the draft Compact: exceptions for the bottled water industry and diversion standards for communities outside of the Great Lakes basin remain key points of contention among Compact supporters and foes.

Wisconsin is the only state without a bill under review. Illinois and Minnesota have approved the Compact, and other states have versions under debate, or through one legislative house.

7 comments:

CJB said...

This is an overwhelming result, and proves again, in yet another way, how much the people of Wisconsin identify with--and value--our natural resources.

I hope our legislators remember this as they take to the floor to discuss, negotiate, and vote upon the Great Lakes Compact: they are being paid (by the taxpayers) to represent the people of Wisconsin and not the special interests of their campaign donors such as Wisconsin Mfgrs and Commerce, the realtors, developers and roadbuilders.

The people get it, legislators. Will you?

Anonymous said...

Yes! Leadership by polls is such a good idea.

James Rowen said...

To Anon:
You are misinformed. Polls, if they are done fairly and by a reputable organization, and I gather that this poll meets those criteria, help spread the word about public sentiment.
When that is overwhelmingly on one side of a policy question, policy-makers and the public benefit from the data.

Anonymous said...

Polls can substantiate anything. 57% of the people know that.

James Rowen said...

Anon: If you were a serious person, I'd debate this with you. Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

No reasonable person can oppose the Great Lakes Compact. However, the devil will be in the details of how the legislature decides to enact it here in WI.

Too stringent and they'll drive businees out of the State, to loose and the protections are watered down.

We'll see what happens ......

CJB said...

It's not just this most recent poll that proves the high regard in which Wisconsinites hold their conservation values. In conversations I've had (and lots of 'em) with Republicans, Democrats and Independents, the PEOPLE affirm this almost every time. And consistently, across the board, the folks are sick of seeing the resources of their beloved state (and their futures) sold off to the highest bidders, the loudest complainers and the biggest campaign contributors, a practice that began under Tommy Thompson and continues under Gov Doyle.

It's no coincidence that Wisconsin's leadership in resource protection and conservation began eroding the day the DNR Secretary was no longer appointed by the DNR board, but by the Gov, and also right around the same time that lobbyists multiplied like rabbits.

Unfortunately, the citizens have to resort to polls and other tactics just to get themselves heard over the din of the business lobby.

As to your concern over driving business out of the state, what about the business that is already here? It won't do our tourism, brewing and manufacturing industries any good to deplete or degrade the resource that they depend upon, and that the people (those pesky. poll-taking residents, again) depend upon for drinking supply and recreation.