Lakes pact links business, environmentalists

September 28, 2007

Businesses and environmental groups in northwest Indiana have banded together to prohibit water diversions from the Great Lakes, reports the Post-Tribune of Merrillville.

The Great Lakes Compact requires approval by governors of the eight Great Lakes states and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada to ban water diversions from the lakes.

Each state would decide if industries and municipal facilities that already use water from the Great Lakes would be required to participate in a water conservation program and meet certain conservation goals or to participate voluntarily.

Indiana legislators could introduce bills in the 2008 session that would implement the treaty. However, all the states and provinces must pass the same legislation in order for compact to take affect.

Bloomberg reported today that giant ships on Lake Superior are carrying less iron ore, coal, limestone and other commodities critical to manufacturers and home builders because the lake has dropped to a record low of 600 feet.

The problem has helped cause a 5.1-percent decline in cargo volume on the five Great Lakes.

The low water is caused by lack of rain and snow, and greater evaporation due to warming water, Bloomberg said.

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