Monday, August 20, 2007

State Sen. Lazich Continues Her Assault On The Great Lakes Compact

Though she represents New Berlin, the sole Wisconsin community seeking a diversion of Lake Michigan water, State Sen. Mary Lazich (R) continues her assault on the Great Lakes Compact with three new, blow-up-the-Compact documents (see "The following items distributed at the request of Senator Mary Lazich," under the August 21 meeting heading) delivered to a key state legislative study committee as it prepares for another meeting Tuesday.

The Compact is a multi-state agreement designed to protect and preserve the Great Lakes and rationalize requests to divert its waters beyond the borders of the Great Lakes basin.

The Compact generously includes a relatively easy diversion standard for communities like New Berlin - - while bringing about water conservation and wise water management across the Great Lakes.

What Lazich can't grasp is an essential political and procedural truth about why she should be championing the Compact, not continuing to undermine it:

If the anti-Compact mentality held by Lazich, and her allies in the Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio legislature were to prevail - - and the Compact stalled or died in one or more of the Great Lakes states - - New Berlin and the City of Waukesha could lose access to Great Lakes water because current US law makes diversions much harder, if not impossible to obtain.

The documents that Lazich has sent to the committee have been prepared in Ohio, where like-minded, anti-regionalists are raising off-note, fearsome political issues about sovereignity and property rights to slow down or kill Compact adoption in the Buckeye State.

The leading Ohio opponent of the Compact is State. Sen. Tim Grendell, who told this blog that anti-Compact legislators from across the region will gather this Saturday in Traverse City, MI.

Grendell is the author of one of the Lazich documents, and the recipient of another, the study committee's website indicates.

Lazich had earlier been prodding the committee, which has stalled for a year over various objections and red herrings thrown in by Waukesha County exceptionalists, to study the views of a Colorado legal scholar who has suggested scrapping the pending Compact (nearly five years in the drafting) and starting over.

Now there's a constructive approach!

While there are no doubt interesting ideas in Ohio's legislature and Colorado's academies, it is Wisconsin law and tradition that will guide the Compact committee.

The same goes for a separate bi-partisan committee on the Compact that Governor Jim Doyle set up after the legislative study committee, dominated by Waukesha-area members, was idling to a halt a month ago without having produced a draft bill.

Doyle left Lazich and her obstructionist tactics off the committee, and though she griped about it to the Journal Sentinel, which let her disclose her own powerless in her own words - - "I'm supposed to be the senator representing the area"- - Doyle's call was the right one.

Because what he established was a working group.

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