Our View — Wisconsin water diversion plan all wet

Petoskey News, February 12, 2016
Author: Editorial

Waukesha, Wis. has a problem, but its solution to the problem presents more problems for the rest of the Great Lakes states, thus impacting Petoskey.

The town of about 71,000 that sits about 20 miles west of Milwaukee — outside of the Great Lakes Basin — wants to divert Lake Michigan water for its use because it says it cannot use the water it currently has access to. Waukesha officials claim they’re unable to use the current water supply as it contains high levels of radium, and the town has been ordered by state officials to address the issue.

However, their solution to divert Great Lakes water to meet their population needs does not meet the standards of the Great Lakes Compact. According to the Alliance for the Great Lakes website, the compact is a formal agreement between the Great Lakes states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania — created in 2008 to help protect the health of the Great Lakes, as well as prevent diversions of Great Lakes water — similar to what the town of Waukesha is requesting.

Because of this, the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and many other officials both government and non-profit — including the National Wildlife Federation, For the Love of Water, Michigan Environmental Council and some of the Native American tribes of Michigan —are recommending the Gov. Rick Snyder put a stop to the application.

“We are actually recommending that Gov. Rick Snyder deny approval to the application,” said Jennifer McKay, policy specialist for the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. “It does not meet the standards put forth in the (Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact).”

We agree.