Conservation groups call on Great Lakes governors to veto water diversion proposal
More than 40 conservation groups across the Great Lakes are urging the region's eight governors to veto a proposal to divert water from Lake Michigan.
Waukesha, Wisconsin wants to build a pipeline to the Great Lakes, because its groundwater supply is contaminated with radium.
The federal government has ordered the city to find a new source of drinking water by 2018.
Waukesha wants to divert 10.1 million gallons a day from Lake Michigan in the beginning, before working up to 16.7 million gallons a day by 2050.
In a letter to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Regional Body and Compact Council, 41 conservation groups say Waukesha fails to meet diversion requirements laid out in the Great Lakes Compact:
The City of Waukesha: 1) does not justify why it needs so much more water than it is currently using; 2) does not consider all reasonable alternatives to provide potable water for its residents; and 3) proposes to divert Great Lakes water to communities who do not need it. Consequently, the [Great Lakes] Compact prohibits the approval of an exception from the ban on diversions.
Waukesha's application is the first to test the requirements of the Great Lakes Compact. All eight of the region's governors must approve the proposal before it can move forward.
“The Great Lakes governors need to take this seriously, fully vet this application and think about what this says for the next diversion application and what path we’re setting. Because we’re writing history right now,” said Marc Smith, with the National Wildlife Federation.
Monday is the final day the public can comment on the proposal.
Here's a complete list of conservation groups that signed the letter:
National Wildlife Federation
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Michigan United Conservation Clubs
Ohio Environmental Council
Prairie Rivers Network (Illinois)
For Love of Water
Friends of the St. Joe River Association
Lake Erie Waterkeeper, Inc.
League of Ohio Sportsmen
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Minnesota Conservation Federation
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council (Michigan)
Michigan League of Conservation Voters
Environmental Advocates of New York
Save the River & Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper
Lake Erie Charter Boat Association
Hoosier Environmental Council
Great Lakes Environmental Law Center
Mullett Lake Area Preservation Society (Michigan)
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
Rivers Alliance of Wisconsin
Milwaukee Water Commons
Save the Dunes (Indiana)
Michigan Environmental Council
Burt Lake Preservation Association (Michigan)
Save Lake Superior Association (Minnesota)
Ohio Conservation Federation
Izaak Walton League of American, Great Lakes Committee
League of Woman Voters, Lake Michigan Region
Indiana Wildlife Federation
Minnesota Environmental Partnership
Citizens Campaign for the Environment (New York)
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation
Midwest Environmental Advocates
Sierra Club, Michigan Chapter
Save Our Sky Blue Waters (Minnesota)