Earth Day 2007 Approaches: When It Comes To Great Lakes Water, Wisconsin Will Celebrate With Inertia
Media love round-number anniversary dates - - the tenth anniversary of this, the 25th of that, and so on.
So here's a number that's worth considering, but since it's not perfect, maybe I'll construct a little on-line daily reminder box as a better marker.
Earth Day 2007, which is April 22nd (a little history about Earth Day and its founder, the late Sen. Gaylord Nelson here), is almost the 500th day exactly (actually day #495 by my count), since the eight Great Lakes state governors and two Great Lakes Canadian provincial premiers signed the amended Great Lakes Compact.
Signed it on December 13, 2005, and in Milwaukee, too, raising even further the profile of Lake Michigan, where water levels are plummeting, yet paradoxically to which fast-growing Waukesha County is looking increasingly for water diversions.
And in those nearly-500 days since the signing, only Minnesota has approved the amendment Compact, so Wisconsin has company across the region.
That's not much of an excuse: Wisconsin has been a leader in Great Lakes preservation, having led the effort in the 1980's to pass the original US-Canadian compact.
But since the much hyped 12/13/05 signing ceremony at The Pfister Hotel, Wisconsin has responded with only a legislative study committee that hasn't met for months, and is grounded due to objections from Waukesha County politicians and business leaders over their communities ease of access to the waters.
Inertia and business-as-usual by land developers seeking water for projects will not protect the Great Lakes, where the potential risks to water levels through temperature increases are being documented repeatedly in recent, major studies on climate change.
Wisconsin's best celebration of Earth Day 2007 would be the swift adoption of the amended Compact, with its strong standards and procedures governing diversions and mandating effective water conservation.
A more attainable goal this year by Earth Day, 2007 - - the 22nd of this month?
How about having State Sen. Neal Kedzie get that moribund water study committee back in gear. It hasn't met since December.