Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bad Start For Great Lakes Compact; New Berlin Fails Reporting Tasks

What a way to begin approving diversions of Great Lakes water under the 2008 Compact signed by eight US states and two Canadian provinces: New Berlin, recipient of the first Compact-enabled diversion of water, failed to make basic water-usage and other mandatory reports, according to a coalition of Wisconsin environmental organizations.

Their statement is here.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has granted New Berlin a 30-day extension, but the damage is done: New Berlin and the DNR have failed in their obligations to the Compact - - a water management and conservation agreement - - and have set an awful precedent.

For Waukesha, the second city applying for a diversion, the timing couldn't be worse, as the Waukesha application will be subjected to a more rigorous review by all eight Great Lakes states.

Unlike New Berlin, Waukesha is entirely outside the boundaries of the Great Lakes basin, so the risks of water losses to the Great Lakes watershed are greater, so the regulatory hurdles and expectations for Waukesha are all that much higher.

I am also aware that New Berlin has failed to meet an independent, regional obligation that accompanied its diversion: the holding of an annual meeting with Milwaukee, the seller of the water, to discuss mutual socio-economic issues.

Give New Berlin an "F" for Compact-related compliance.

Give the DNR an incomplete.

And let's have communities seeking Great Lakes water give their obligations full attention, lest water-sellers and other states holding potential vetoes over those diversions give the applicants a thumbs-down.

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