I've written often on this blog - - here, or here - - that Waukesha's intense push for a Lake Michigan diversion under the Great Lakes Compact of 2008 may play well at home, but its precedent-setting application for the diversion raises concerns across a huge North American region over the volume of water Waukesha is seeking and its intention to redistribute some of that water into undeveloped acreage and neighboring towns with no water shortages.
So I commend to you this outstanding scene-setter by water and environmental expert Tom Henry, a long-time staffer at The Blade, Toledo, Ohio's daily paper:
The Great Lakes compact seeks to keep water in this region.
A non-binding agreement in principle - i.e. a public acknowledgment - is the best that can be done in that regard because states cannot enter into legally binding contracts with provinces or other foreign entities.
The heavy negotiations that went into that compact led to some eye-opening revelations, not the least of which was how Americans don't quite appreciate or understand the Canadian perspective when it comes to something as simple as protecting the Great Lakes.
Put yourself in Canada's shoes. Or winter boots, for that matter.
The USA, to many Canadians, is a big resource-sucking machine. We covet Canada's water, natural gas, and timber.
We sometimes think of the Great Lakes as our own, when - in fact - it's a shared resource.
Of the 40 million people who live in the Great Lakes basin, 30 million are in the United States and 10 million are in Canada. In other words, one of every four Great Lakes residents are Canadians, plus there are rights to the water claimed by tribes and First Nations.