A Victory For Michigan Water & The Great Lakes!
Great Waters - Great Michigan Plan
June 26, 2008
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By: MyBayCity Staff
State Rep. Jeff Mayes, 96th House District
(MyBayCity Photo by Marlo Leveling)
In a victory for the Great Lakes and Michigan water, the House today moved forward on a bipartisan and comprehensive plan that will effectively ban the diversion of Great Lakes water from outside the Great Lakes basin and protect Michigan's lakes, streams and groundwater for generations to come.
"Today's bipartisan action will have a positive impact on Michigan residents for generations to come," said State Representative Jeff Mayes (D-Bay City), who chairs the Agriculture Committee. "Not only will this plan protect our most precious natural resource, it will protect our farmers' bottom line. It's a win-win for Michigan."
The parts of the "Great Waters, Great Michigan" plan that passed today with broad bipartisan support will:
Ban the diversion of water outside the Great Lakes basin by ratifying the Great Lakes Basin Water Resources Compact.
Toughen water bottling standards by lowering the threshold that triggers an environmental review of withdrawals from 250,000 gallons per day to 200,000 gallons per day.
Provides stronger environmental review provisions for municipal water suppliers to protect sensitive water resources.
Require the use of a water withdrawal assessment tool for new large-scale water withdrawals, to determine if they will harm our natural resources.
Raise the fines for water-use violations from a maximum of $5,000 per day to $10,000 per day.
Establish a Water Conservation Advisory Council that will make recommendations to ensure sound water policies are enacted in Michigan
The "Great Waters, Great Michigan" plan is the result of two years of work among the state House and Senate, business groups, environmental organizations and other interested parties. Groups supporting the "Great Waters, Great Michigan" plan include the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Manufacturers Association, Michigan Farm Bureau, the Michigan Environmental Council, Clean Water Action and the Sierra Club.
The Great Lakes boast 6 quadrillion gallons of fresh water, representing one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water and 95 percent of the U.S. supply of fresh water.
By 2013, 36 states expect water shortages, according to a 2003 Government Accountability Office report. As more states and countries dry up, they will turn to the Great Lakes to replenish their supplies. Last fall, a Georgia lawmaker proposed a national water commission that would put the federal government in charge of Great Lakes water.
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