Congresswomen want Great Lakes water diversion blocked

The Detroit Free Press, May 19, 2016
Author: Todd Spangler

U.S. Reps. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, and Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, urged Snyder to reject the request, saying it would be a “precedent-setting setback.” The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Regional Body recently gave preliminary approval to the proposal.

“The compact allows for water diversion to communities within the basin, but only under rare and strict conditions,” Miller and Dingell wrote Snyder. “We do not believe the city of Waukesha has made a compelling case.”

With Minnesota abstaining, Waukesha's bid for Great Lakes water moves ahead

MinnPost, May 19, 2016
Author: Ron Meador

We start from the reasonable water supply alternative, because that standard is the crucial threshold you’ve gotta meet, and this question: What is Waukesha’s next-best alternative?

The city has never directly answered that. It has dodged the question in all of its application submittals to date. And to me it’s the first question that the public and all onlookers and decision-makers on this deserve an answer to: If you can’t have the diversion, what would you have to do?

Great Lakes group approves Waukesha's water request

Minnesota Public Radio, May 18, 2016
Author: Dan Kraker

Groups opposing Waukesha's initial application are encouraged by those changes, said Marc Smith with the Great Lakes office of the National Wildlife Federation. "But we are disappointed that the Regional Body did not completely reject Waukesha's flawed diversion proposal," he said.

Still, Smith added that his and other groups will examine the new conditions placed on the application to "determine if they uphold the letter and spirit of the Great Lakes Compact."

The compact was passed in 2008 to protect the lakes from attempted water grabs. The compact only allows cities located within the Great Lakes Basin to withdraw water from the lakes. But it allowed for two exemptions, for towns that sit right on the edge of the watershed, or for cities located in a county that straddles that basin dividing line.

The latter exemption would apply to Waukesha, and this application is the first test-case of that exemption in the Great Lakes compact. For that reason, this application has generated intense scrutiny from some groups who fear granting Waukesha an exemption could open the floodgates to other thirsty communities requesting a straw into the Great lakes bountiful waters.

That's why it's important to get this application right, according to the National Wildlife Federation's Smith. "We want the compact to work," he said. "This is really important, because this is the first test."

Minnesota requests delay on Waukesha water decision

Duluth Tribune, May 11, 2016
Author: News Tribune

The review of a Wisconsin city's application to draw drinking water from Lake Michigan has been put on hold for at least a week.

Julie Ekman, Minnesota's representative on a multi-state committee reviewing the plan requested by the city of Waukesha, asked for the delay Wednesday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Ekman said she and other Minnesota officials needed more time to review revisions made to the plan during meetings this week in Chicago.

Senate resolution opposes Wisconsin city's proposal to divert Lake Michigan water

Michigan Radio, May 11, 2016
Author: Virginia Gordon

The resolution says Waukesha's request does not meet some of the requirements set by the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact for permitting a water diversion.

"We believe that they've overestimated their required number of gallons, number one, and number two, that the discharge does not go back into the Great Lakes basin even though it pulls from the Great Lakes basin," said Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, one of the resolution's sponsors.

"I don't want there to be any erosion of that ground-breaking compact," Proos said. He said it's particularly important to adhere to the strict standards of the compact because Waukesha is the first community to seek approval for a diversion of Great Lakes water under the compact.

Racine To Waukesha: Hold The Flow, Please

Wisconsin Public Radio, May 10, 2016
Author: Chuck Quirmbach

One project, according to Racine Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason, would see the city and developers investing at least $65 million to redevelop an old steam engine plant on riverfront property as a mix of apartments and retail.

"It just doesn't seem fair really that we're doing everything we can to revitalize the river, while Waukesha upstream — they're able to discharge their treated sewage into the river," said Mason. "And we're worried about what it means not only for the health of the river, but the viability of big economic development projects like this."

The Root River in Racine is not pristine. It's impaired by long ago industrial discharges and by upstream farm and road runoff in Racine and Milwaukee counties. But Mason said there's a plan to clean up that pollution, which he said would also help Lake Michigan. Racine says it's already done a lot to boost recreation near the mouth of the river.

Eight governors have chance to protect Great Lakes water

Chicago Sun Times, May 6, 2016
Author: Editorial

The National Wildlife Federation and the Alliance for the Great Lakes say Waukesha has failed to prove it has exhausted all reasonable options for getting water; has failed to prove it needs the water; included in its application other towns that don’t need the water and has a feasible alternative of treating the water it draws from deep and shallow wells to remove the radium. Of 11,200 messages gathered during a 60-day public comment period that ended in March, 98.5 percent were opposed to granting the diversion.

It’s time to stop the Waukesha water proposal.

Traverse City Eagle, May 1, 2016

“Based on our review and analysis, one problem with the request is that several communities outside the Basin in Waukesha County already have adequate water and don’t need it,” said Jim Olson, President of For Love of Water, a Traverse City-based Great Lakes law and policy center in a March statement. “The other problem is that the amount of water that would be diverted is based on indefinite and uncertain assumptions that at the end of the day are to support a build-out of sprawl and development in 2050.”