Ohio's Approval Of The Great Lakes Compact Awaits A Referendum
Ohio opponents of the Great Lakes Compact have agreed that the agreement can become law in Ohio if a statewide referendum re-affirming some property rights is approved, and Compact supporters have figured out a way to live with it, according to the Chicago Tribune.
This issue was a minor problem in Wisconsin's deliberations, essentially governed already in state law and the Wisconsin constitution, and fine-tuned in the long, drawn-out hassle over the bill that implements the Compact here.
From a distance, the Ohio arrangement looks like face-saving for the opponents, who had minimal clout in the state legislature and were being regularly pounded and mocked by the state's editorial writers.
When Michigan resolves its pending disputes over competing implementing bills, and Pennsylvania's predicted approval also takes place, all eight Great Lakes states then would have ratified the agreement.
The two final steps are approval by the US Congress and Canadian parliament; some Canadians think the Compact gives too many US communities Great Lakes water access, and there could be opposition in the Congress from arid states, too.
With political power in the US shifting from the east and Midwest to the west and south, the Compact's final approval in the Congress is not a slam-dunk.
Actually the Great Lakes Compact will be passed out of the Ohio Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee next Weds, May 28th and then the whole Senate on May 29th. It will go to the House for concurrence because the Senate is amending Ohio House Bill 416 to make the date it goes into effect in Ohio to December 1,2008 to allow for the voters to approve or not approve the constitutional amendment. The Compact WILL be ratified in Ohio whether or not the constitutional amendment is approved in the fall by Ohio voters. They passage of the Great Lakes Compact is NO LONGER contingent on the approval of the constitutional amendment.
For more information feel free to contact me, Kristy Meyer, at the Ohio Environmental Council at 614-487-7506 or at Kristy@TheOEC.org.
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