Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Getting The Language Right: When Is a Ban On Great Lakes Water Diversions A Ban?

Michigan's Governor Jennifer Granholm reportedly described the proposed prohibition on Great Lakes diversions as an outright ban, according to a media report from the just-concluded National Governors Association annual meeting

As we know in these here parts, such is not the outright case.

New Berlin and Waukesha have already applied for Great Lakes water diversions, either through exceptions spelled out in the proposed Compact (New Berlin, 2006 and 2007), or through direct appeals to Governor Jim Doyle in confidential pleas (2006, twice rebuffed).

Former Michigan water policy expert and now-Minnesota blogger Dave Dempsey works his way through the terminology, parsing and other linguistic thickets regarding possible Great Lakes diversions, here.

And a second Great Lakes blogger turns Granholm's remarks into an essay about water and economic policy, here, raising broad policy questions about water seldom articulated in Wisconsin.

Of course, much of this uncertainty could be resolved if Wisconsin would pass the Great Lakes Compact, a process stalled in a state legislative council committee over objections from some Waukesha County politicians, and business interests, who want few, if any, diversion restrictions.

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