Thursday, November 3, 2016

Litigation could keep Waukesha diversion spigot shut

Not everyone thinks the decision to award the City of Waukesha a precedent-setting diversion of Great Lakes water is a done deal.

While the US Great Lakes governors made the diversion decision, the water is shared with Canada and officials there and in some US cities are backing an appeal which could drag on for years: 
In August, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative issued a legal challenge to the Compact Council's approval of Waukesha's application.
Mayor Keith Hobbs said he will encourage that challenge to appeal as high as the United States Supreme Court. 
"They really missed the boat on this one and that’s why we’ve hired a legal firm to take it on, if necessary," Hobbs said. 
Waukesha and its allies at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources may feel they can swat this all away, but who knows what could happen if a rather substantial coalition of municipalities pools their resources and funds some serious litigating.

And the diversion-promoters can't say they weren't warned.

Thunder Bay Mayor Hobbs has been publicly raising these objections for a long time, as I disclosed, and that coalition of US and Canadian local officials has also made its opposition known unambiguously:
Mayors Urge Governors and Premiers to Reject Waukesha Application
Historic, precedent-setting Great Lakes water diversion application to be discussed this week

April 20, 2016

Today, Mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative call on the Governors and Premiers of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin to reject the Waukesha Water Diversion Application and uphold the Great Lakes Compact and Agreement. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Water Resources Regional Body, which is responsible for implementing the Compact and Agreement, is holding a special meeting on the Application in Chicago on April 21, which is the last formal opportunity for Ontario and Quebec to be heard.  To this day, 17 Canadian cities have passed resolutions opposing the water diversion (view resolutions at 
The Cities Initiative, a group of 122 local government leaders from the United States and Canada representing over 17 million people, is opposed to the water diversion because it does not comply with the Compact in several ways.  First, the water service area goes well beyond the city limits of Waukesha. Second, there are reasonable alternatives for Waukesha to provide safe drinking water to its residents.  Third, there are significant questions about what the return flow would do to the Root River on its way back to Lake Michigan.  All of these add up to the bad precedent an approval would set when the Compact created a very strictly limited exception for cities and counties on the borders of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin

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