In 2005, the U.S. Governors and Canadian Premiers of the Great Lakes states and provinces endorsed a precedent-setting agreement to protect and conserve the Great Lakes.
In the fall of 2008, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (known as “the Compact”) was ratified by all of the eight Great Lakes states and provinces, passed by Congress, and signed into law. There is a companion agreement within the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
The Compact provides the most comprehensive water use protections for the Great Lakes in the last century.
These agreements close the door on exporting our Great Lakes water outside the region and puts our own house in order by establishing protections against unsustainable water use here at home. The Compact allows the Great Lakes region to maintain control over Great Lakes water in the face of growing demands for water from across the U.S., Canada, and the world.
For the first time, the Compact:
The Compact protects the Great Lakes from harm by implementing a strong and effective water management program. The enforceability of the Compact is what sets this agreement apart from other Great Lakes agreements. The Compact guarantees the long-term protection and sound management of Great Lakes water, ensuring that they are protected for generations to come.
Read the OEC’s Great Lakes Compact Fact Sheet.
After the Compact became U.S. law in 2008, each Great Lakes state was required to pass state legislation to implement the Compact agreement in their state. In the spring of 2012, the Ohio Legislature drafted and passed legislation (House Bill 473) that laid the framework for how Ohio would implement the Compact agreement and water management program.
OEC opposed the legislation due to three significant outstanding flaws:
Despite only receiving support from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Legislature passed the bill and Governor Kasich signed it into law. Read the OEC’s press release.
The bill became effective September 4, 2012. However, this is not the end.
Additional work on the Compact continues as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) must now hammer out all of the rules that make up a regulatory program. ODNR will be convening two advisory committees to assist them in the development of rules that will govern the water management program.
In spring 2011, Senator Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland) and Representative Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) introduced legislation (Senate Bill 170 and House Bill 231), backed by big business, to implement the programs within the Great Lakes Compact. This legislation, which is required under federal law, is supposed to sustain water supplies for the five Great Lakes and the rivers, streams and ground water that drains into the Lakes.
Despite the fact that these pieces of legislation do little to protect the needs of all water users, both the House and Senate passed the legislation.
In July, 2011, in recognition of the importance of the Great Lakes and the woeful inadequacy of these bills, Governor Kasich vetoed this harmful legislation. Read the OEC’s press release.
In spring of 2012, Representative Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) again introduced a piece of legislation to implement the Great Lakes Compact programs (House Bill 473). While an improvement over the first bill introduced by Rep. Wachtmann and later vetoed by Governor Kasich, HB 473 retained three significant flaws.
OEC opposed the legislation due to the following significant flaws:
Read the OEC’s press release.
H.B. 473 received strong opposition from environmental, sportsmen, and recreation organizations, scientists, and citizens. Additionally, concern was raised by Senator Voinovich and former Governor Taft, both of whom were involved in the original passage of the Great Lakes Compact Agreement. The concerns raised by Senator Voinovich and former Governor Taft were never addressed by the Legislature. The only support for the bill came from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.