Governor-brokered deal in Wisconsin marks important breakthrough for Great Lakes Compact
A compromise worked out with Wisconsin state legislators by Gov. Jim Doyle April 9 appears to have paved the way for passage of the measure in Wisconsin, and could help the process in Ohio. The compact, drafted by the Great Lakes governors to protect Great Lakes water from diversion outside the basin, has already been ratified by four states and was approved by the Wisconsin State Senate. But it ran into opposition in the Wisconsin Assembly. Fears over intrusion on private property rights have held up ratification in the Ohio state legislature.
Gov. Doyle, however, was able to broker a deal after intense negotiations that changed some language in the state ratification bill, but left the compact language itself intact. Doyle announced that the measure would be taken up in a special session of the Wisconsin legislature soon.
In an apparently collateral development, an Ohio state senator who has been leading opposition to the compact, said he would support it if the Ohio constitution can be amended to protect private property owners' groundwater rights. State Sen. Tim Grendell (also a Great Lakes Commissioner) cited the Wisconsin developments as instrumental in his change of position. If approved in Wisconsin, the compact must then be ratified by Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania - and ultimately Congress - to be implemented. Contact: Tim Eder, email@example.com, 734-971-9135.
Newly formed Great Lakes Wind Collaborative plans first annual meeting in Buffalo
The Great Lakes Wind Collaborative (GLWC) will hold its 1st Annual Meeting May 6-7, 2008, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Buffalo, N.Y. The meeting will provide an opportunity for interested stakeholders - states, provinces, industry, NGO's - to learn more about wind issues on a regional level and to build on lessons learned elsewhere.
Presentations on the role of wind energy in meeting the Great Lakes region's energy needs of the 21st century as well as the Midwestern Governors Association's Energy Security and Climate Change Platform and its implications for wind energy in the Great Lakes region will be part of the program. Topical presentations and discussions on issues surrounding off shore wind development and environmental and wildlife impacts of wind power are also part of the two-day event. The newly formed GLWC will unveil a first year work plan and participants will be invited to provide feedback on the first year activities.
Registration is now open at www.glc.org/energy/wind/conf2008; the registration deadline is Friday, April 25.
The Great Lakes Commission serves as the Secretariat for the GLWC, with funding in part from the U.S. Department of Energy - National Renewal Energy Laboratory. More information on the GLWC is available at www.glc.org/energy/wind. Contact: John Hummer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congressional subcommittee to hold Green Bay hearing on Great Lakes water levels
The Great Lakes Commission will testify at a special field hearing on Great Lakes water levels to be conducted April 18 in Green Bay by the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. Representing the Commission at the hearing will be Roger Gauthier, staff program manager and veteran Great Lakes hydrologist.
Hosting the Green Bay hearing will be subcommittee member Rep. Steven Kagen (D-WI) of Wisconsin's 8th District. Gauthier's testimony will address such issues as the International Ocean Observing System, the affect of St. Clair River outflows on upper lakes levels, the regional economic impact of low water levels, and the need for initial engineering analyses of ways to retain water in the upper lakes. Contact: Roger Gauthier, email@example.com, 734-971-9135.
Lake St. Clair conference highlights restoration and protection efforts
The 4th Binational Lake St. Clair Conference held March 19-20 in Harrison Township, Mich., attracted more than 150 participants to discuss restoration and protection efforts for Lake St. Clair. The program included plenary presentations on the status of major initiatives in the watershed, and smaller breakout sessions on specific restoration and protection programs addressing such topics as:
- Phragmites management
- Drinking water protection
- E-coli monitoring
- Submerged macrophytes
- Lake level variations and related impacts
- Management implications from Lake St. Clair monitoring efforts
A portion of the conference was also dedicated to discussing key initiatives in the U.S. and Canadian sides of the watershed. The conference was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the Great Lakes Commission. Contact: Matt Doss, firstname.lastname@example.org, 734-971-9135.
Plans announced for International Submerged Lands Conference in October 2008
The Great Lakes Commission is hosting the 27th Annual International Submerged Lands Management Conference Oct. 26-28, 2008, at Northwestern Michigan College's Hagerty Center in Traverse City, Mich. The conference will highlight issues surrounding administration of submerged lands and adjacent uplands.
Invited to participate are state and provincial managers, professionals and other specialists who deal with issues pertaining to management of submerged lands and adjacent uplands. Potential issues to be addressed include public trust and public access, energy facility siting, underwater preserves, submerged cultural resources, underwater habitat, water-dependent uses, waterfront development, and hazards.
More information on submission of abstracts and other conference details is available at www.submergedlands2008.com. Contact: Becky Pearson, email@example.com, 734-971-9135.