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Great Lakes Compact Comes Just in Time

Between the invasive species, questions of drinking water safety, and dipping water levels, the Great Lakes have been taking a beating lately.
December 3, 2008, 1pm PST | Judy Chang
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"Signed into law by President George W. Bush Oct. 3, the Great Lakes Compact takes effect Dec. 8. The binational agreement, the fruit of regional initiatives, obliges eight American states and two Canadian provinces to work together to protect the lakes system.

'The Great Lakes Compact is an awesome victory,' says Jeff Skelding, national campaign director for Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition. 'No one predicted it could have happened so quickly. We can't protect the Great Lakes if there's no water in them . The cocktail of assaults may be pushing the Great Lakes toward a tipping point, an irreversible change in the food web.'

Part of this assault is the introduction of 182 invasive species such as the zebra mussel, which began disrupting the food web on Lake St. Clair in 1988 and has clogged many water intake pipes since, at an annual cost running in the billions of dollars."

"Despite a few seasonal blips, a 30-year trend shows that water levels are declining. This is one of the main reasons the Great Lakes Compact was rushed into law. Canadian and American entrepreneurs alike had been seeking ways to commercialize the freshwater resources of the Great Lakes, hoping to send it by pipe or ship to thirsty markets in the US Southwest and overseas."

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Published on Tuesday, December 2, 2008 in The Christian Science Monitor
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