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Great Lakes boaters want to keep their water

Ohio’s Lt. Governor, Lee Fisher, tossed Great Lakes boating interests a curve this week when the Toledo Blade reported Fisher said the Great Lakes might divert its water to other parts of the country in the future. Preventing the diversion of Great Lakes water has been a major objective of boat owner organizations, the boating industry and many similar groups in the 8 states that surround the Lakes.

One-third of the nation’s recreational boats ply the Great Lakes basin and while the region contains 20% of the world’s fresh water, the lake levels can significantly drop causing a variety of problems for boating such as those experienced recently when levels dropped and many docks and marinas were rendered inaccessible.

Diverting water from the Great Lakes system is also a political hot button. For example, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson created a buzz last October when he said the Great Lakes is “awash in water” and could send it to the southwest. Back in 1985, the Great Lakes governors signed a non-binding agreement to unite against diversion of water to the southwest. Congress followed by passing legislation giving each Great Lakes governor veto power over any diversion project. That expires in 2010.

In addition, there has been fear about possible large-scale selling of the water. For example, a Canadian firm, the Nova Group, got a permit to ship tankers filled with Lake Superior water to Asia in 1998. An outcry stopped it, but the incident elevated a movement in both the U.S. and Canada to permanently prevent it.

To accomplish that, the states formed the Council of Great Lakes Governors that has worked for nearly 10 years to hammer out the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (dubbed “The Great Lakes Compact.”)  The Compact calls for the 8 states to act as a regional body so any future diversion could never be made unilaterally. In essence, all 8 states would have to agree to any diversion. Canada will also participate in the Compact.

To date, 4 Great Lakes States — New York, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan – have ratified the Compact. It needs to be ratified by the other 4 states – Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – before it can be sent to Congress for federal approval. Once approved, the Compact will rule supreme, even over any future Congressional action.

Oh, yes,  Ohio’s Lt. Governor yesterday stated he misspoke when he suggested the possible future sale of Great Lakes water. “I should have been more careful in my comments about diversion,” Fisher said, “because I should not have left even a crack in the door for diversion in the future.”


6 comments on “Great Lakes boaters want to keep their water

  1. dennis parsons

    As a marine surveyor and past marina owner on Lake Huron, I have seen the negative results of our low water levels both in terms of marine sales and service as well as the drop in boats surveyed in the last two years. The mild winters have played a great part in the evaporation of the Great Lakes and the dry spring seasons haven’t helped either. To divert water to anywhere would devastate the boating industry and virtually help to wipe out the tourism related to the Lakes. The already hard hit economy in Michigan would suffer even more if the number of registered boats should drop off. I have seen record numbers of water craft left in dry storage because of the poor economy, low water levels and rising fuel costs. Please support the lobby against Great Lakes diversion. Sincerely, Dennis Parsons[Michigan resident and boat owner]

  2. Wade N. Waters

    We just completed ski slope project in Dubai. Snow in the desert is a wonderful thing. Tiger Woods enjoyed it very much on his last golfing visit- he also purchased a very nice condo here. Now that you want to sell your great lakes we are interested in moving them to our desert. As many of you know we are completting our Palm projects where we developed the largest man made marine projects in the world. The islands were commissioned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in order to increase Dubai’s tourism. Each settlement will be in the shape of a palm tree, topped with a crescent, and will have a large number of residential, leisure and entertainment centers. The Palm Islands are located off the coast of The United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf and will add 520 km of beaches to the city of Dubai. see them at
    If you could get your government to approve these types of projects in California or Texas or Florida you to could become a boating desination country. Oh but it could never happen in USA as your EPA, OSHA, ICE, Sierra club, Fish & Wildlife Service, Orion Society, Earth First, Green Peace, etc… would tie these projects up for ever, like they have about new refineries, coal & nuclear power plants that could reduce the cost of energy in the USA. By the way the silly notion of repealing Bush’s tax cuts or increasing the taxon the top 2% of your wealthest citizens is helping us fill these condo’s and our banks. See your top 2% will just leave you and then you will have even less. Reminds me of the 1980’s when your government decide to tax those “wealthy boaters with a luxury tax on all boats & even put a gov’t fee on safty equipment like VHF radio’s – you are such a silly country.
    So please start selling us your great lakes water. We will pay more than those people in Atlanta at lake Lanier- you know those rich southern people….

    You are the people your Parents warned you about!!!

  3. dave boso

    Of course you are dealing with strickland and fisher a couple libs, so what ever they can do to make it hard on us rich boaters and bussiness men they will.

  4. mike webster

    Dear Wade-n -Waters- you keep the Palm Islands to yourselves and we’ll keep EPA, Fish & Wildlife, Sierra (you forgot to list the credible,conservative “Federations”) and attempt to preserve our traditional US boating areas thank you.

  5. dave boso

    Maybe we can sell the EPA,sierra club,green peace, and the rest of that bunch to Dubai, we’ll sell em cheap, and then they can screw up his palm Islands

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