Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lake Michigan Water Levels Hitting Historic Lows - - Diversion Discussions Hitting Historic Highs

Lake Michigan continues to fall.

That's not stopping City of Waukesha officials from continuing their discussions with a compliant Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to sketch out potential ways to divert Lake Michigan water - - probably with less than a guaranteed-100% return flow 12 months a year, sources say.

The DNR is also encouraging New Berlin to discuss a diversion deal with the City of Milwaukee, even though Milwaukee's position is that there should be no deals until the state legislature approves the pending Great Lakes Compact, with its first-ever standardized diversion rules and water conservation standards.

Not to mention that the Wisconsin Attorney General has said, in writing, that under federal law, Wisconsin cannot unilaterally approve any diversions without the approval of all eight Great Lakes governors - - an opinion that the DNR and major Wisconsin media are pretending wasn't written.

I've written about and cited that opinion six times since May:

It's a sad state of affairs that some of our more powerful media and governmental officials are in a mutually denial pact over the opinion, and are overlooking its conclusion, that:

A 21-year-old federal statute forbids New Berlin, Waukesha or any other Wisconsin community receiving a Great Lakes diversion without all eight Great Lakes governors giving their OK.

No unilateral action by Wisconsin, according to the opinion.

And the regional planning commission, (SEWEPC), continues to discuss possible future regional water supply plans that could include diversions of Lake Michigan water to communities like Waukesha that are beyond the boundaries of the Great Lakes basin.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in August of this year noted the expanding list of communities in several counties that SEWRPC was adding to its list of potential Lake Michigan diversion recipients - - for discussion purposes.

Yes, you read that right: expanding list.

I've been predicting that SEWRPC will probably endorse this kind of approach through a regional water authority - - in part because it is recommending sprawl-inducing highway expansion beyond the Great Lakes basin, and because it hired a leading Wisconsin legal expert on regional water matters to assist the commission's ongoing water supply study.

Anyone see a contradiction to this media disinterest and parallel government planning and momentum taking place while levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior continue to fall so dramatically?

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