Anyone who is concerned about protecting the Great Lakes from diversions should be worried when the state Legislature has to resort to a non-binding House Concurrent Resolution as a last line of defense against large scale diversions from Lake Michigan. House Concurrent Resolution 49, introduced by Rep. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, urges the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council to scrutinize carefully the proposed the 18.5 million gallon per day diversion at Waukesha, Wis. The resolution passed the House with a slightly modified version passing in the Senate.

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Michigan willingly gave up its gubernatorial veto over Great Lakes diversions and traded it for a multi-state consultative process in 2008 when Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed Public Act 184 of 2008. Prior to adopting the compact the governor of any Great Lakes state could veto a large-scale diversion of water from the Great Lakes. Govs. Blanchard and Engler vetoed proposed diversions from the Great Lakes using their authority under the Federal Water Resources Development Act.

Although the Great Lakes Compact does stipulate standards for water diversions, it opens the door for communities that border the Great Lakes Basin to obtain Great Lakes Water without the threat of a Michigan governor unilaterally vetoing their request.

The greatest threat to diversion of Great Lakes water is not from arid states like California or Arizona but from thirsty communities that border the Great Lakes Basin. Michigan has the most to loose because it is the only state entirely within the basin. Unfortunately, when Michigan joined the Great Lakes Compact it abdicated its role as chief protector of water diversions from the Great Lakes., a fact that non-binding House and Senate resolutions cannot change.