Wednesday, April 13, 2016

PA local official urges "no" vote on Waukesha's water diversion

As the eight Great Lakes Governors continue to review Waukesha's application for a precedent-setting diversion of Lake Michigan water - - with their public discussions beginning next week in Chicago - - a County Executive in the Great Lakes State of Pennsylvania has urged her Governor to vote down the application because Waukesha's city leadership "failed to justify the need, did not consider all plausible alternatives and proposes to divert Great Lakes Water to communities that do not exhibit a need."

Other officials and media regionally have advised against the application's approval, and 99% of the more than 11,000 comments filed with reviewers are in opposition.

Under a multi-state Great Lakes management Compact also approved by Congress, all eight Great Lakes states must unanimously approve a diversion application like Waukesha's or the diversion cannot be implemented.

The Wisconsin DNR has a website devoted to the application and the review process.

Here's some background about the application's core problem and a very recent thumbs-down analysis of the application.

And here is the full text a letter from Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County, (PA) Executive to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf urging him to vote "no" when the all the Governors' review are finished and two Canadian provinces finish submitting advisory comments:
April 8, 2016

The Honorable Tom Wolf
Governor of Pennsylvania 
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Dear Governor Wolf:

On behalf of the residents of Erie County, I am writing to submit public comments concerning the proposed Great Lakes Water Diversion Application proposed by the City of Waukesha, Wisconsin, under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Compact).

As a coastal community along the Great Lakes, we understand the value of our location and its relationship to the cultural and economic integrity of the region. As an integral component of our composition, the Great Lakes must be maintained, preserved and protected. The ratification of the Great Lakes Compact in 2008 strengthens the resolve of each of the eight states within the Great Lakes to ensure the protection our invaluable assets.

Under the Compact, diversion of water from the Great Lakes –St. Lawrence River Basin (Basin) to areas outside the Basin are banned with limited exceptions that are available only when rigorous standards are met. Simply stated, diversions must be a last resort. 

The City of Waukesha proposes to divert up to 10.1 million gallons per day of Basin water, based on a projected average daily demand for its planned water service area. However, their leadership failed to justify the need, did not consider all plausible alternatives and proposes to divert Great Lakes Water to communities that do not exhibit a need.

As a proponent of conservation, I respectfully request your support and the support of the Regional Body and Compact Council to reject the application on the grounds that it does not meet the exception standard requirements of the Compact. Now is the time to ensure that we reaffirm the determination and dedication of those who worked tirelessly to negotiate, develop and implement the Compact. Our due diligence today will to protect the Great Lakes of tomorrow. I appreciate your consideration.

Kathy Dahlkemper
Erie County Executive


Anonymous said...

Glad to see the Quaker State Executive agrees, until they start using their own urine, Waukesha has not even begun to use other available options. This water-grab is a sham and will be a serious mistake if approved.

Anonymous said...

The other Great Lakes states are not rolling over in technical review of the application.

Michigan and Ney York are aggressively flushing out problems of Waukesha's application and compliance with the compact.

There are questions being asked of the Wisconsin agency headed by former home builder, Kathy Steep, WDNR secretary that neither the WDNR nor the the City of Waukesha can answer. When Wisconsin submits a precedent setting application on an issue this important, now is not the time stick your finger between your lips and make noise.

Michigan's toughest comments and line of questions surround the expanded service area and the non existent compact language Wisconsin is using to justify the expansion service area. Wisconsin says straddling community is being defined by "or equivalent there of" language to be inclusive of all states' laws rather than compact language which requires a "community" demonstrate a need for LM water.

Ney York seems to be focused on Waukesha as making excuses rather than coming up with solutions to solve it's future need, if it even exist, for water. For instance, they are asking questions about the SEWRPC report that future planning shows all communities inside the basin getting off the deep aquifer and switching to LM water that have not yet done so. They cite New Berlin which caused the deep aquifer to rise substantially in a short period of time.

It appears Waukesha's application has many problems as a precedent setter and a lot of ratepayers money has been flushed to the Mississippi basin when all Waukesha's water will flow forever as God intended.