Guest Author - Sharon Bejin
It is easy to feel awe when thinking about the Great Lakes; the history, the massive bodies of water, or the huge ships that come and go by way of these lakes, especially when visiting the locks. It is also easy to take these waters for granted and assume they will be here forever.
Recently, the Great Lakes have been under a threat of having its water siphoned and imported to other countries, all in the name of business. Not only are the Great Lakes fighting man-made pollution and foreign species getting into the lake waters, but the lakes are also at risk of having its water depleted. Because the lakes are in danger of losing their fresh waters, each of the Great Lake states have been working together to create the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.
The approved compact by the states is being endorsed by the governors of the Great Lake states and is now waiting for approval by the Legislature. This compact will stop any removal of water from the all of the lakes. The Great Lakes Compact will create environmental standards to protect the waters. The compact will help protect not just the Great Lakes but any of the rivers, tributaries, streams or groundwater connected to the lakes. This compact will protect the five Great Lakes that hold 90 percent of the surface freshwater in the United States.
The concern for the depletion of the Great Lakes water was highlighted when a Canadian company wanted to transport some of the lake water to Asia by way of tankers. It was at this time, that the states realized that the Great Lakes were not under any kind of protection and thus, the Great Lakes Compact was initiated.
The passage of the Great Lakes Compact through the Legislative Branch will protect the Great Lakes from losing its freshwaters. With the compact in place, each state will be responsible for creating conservation programs to bring awareness to any potential dangers the lake waters face. The states will also make sure environmental issues are addressed and presented to the public. The public will be encouraged and allowed to help with any of the programs. Each state will be allowed the right to enforce environmental protection of their Great Lakes.
The future of the Great Lakes will depend on the passage of this compact and how each state and its people contribute to the environmental issues their lake is confronted with. With their efforts, we all continue to enjoy these giant freshwater lakes nearby.