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Published: Tuesday, 4/8/2008

Ohio leaders oppose sale of lake water

I am writing to respond to the April 1 story, Fisher visit raises possibility of selling Great Lakes water.

As a Cleveland native, I understand the great value of Lake Erie and the entire Great Lakes resource. Lake Erie is a tremendous asset to the communities that call it home and to the entire state as a beacon for tourism and environmental grandeur.

Lake Erie supplies drinking water to 2.6 million Ohioans, and provides businesses with an abundant source of water to spur needed manufacturing and attract and expand new and emerging industries.

I spoke to a group of northwest Ohio leaders last week and emphasized the need to preserve and protect Lake Erie and the Great Lakes as one of our greatest assets. I spoke strongly in favor of the Great Lakes Compact. However, The Blade accurately pointed out that I stated during a question and answer session that Ohio will someday have to determine if, when, and how we would best respond to other states who have a water shortage.

I misspoke by leaving open even the remote possibility that there might be conditions sometime in the distant future under which we might support some water diversion. I should have been more careful in my choice of language. Let me be very clear. I have always opposed, and the Strickland-Fisher Administration strongly opposes, selling Lake Erie water to other states.

Ohio and our Great Lakes partners must remain committed to protecting our incredible treasure indefinitely. We should not back down from those outside the region who see opportunities to harvest and divert the water resources that make Ohio an attractive place to live, work, and play. While other states have their own natural resources, Lake Erie is one of our most precious assets and one that we must go to great lengths to protect.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact is a highly complex and sophisticated framework for the eight Great Lakes states and provinces of Canada to work together and manage what has been left for us to use wisely and care for its long-term viability. The compact took years to develop and finally found agreement among eight governors and many stakeholders.

Four other states have already completed work on their legislative efforts. The compact would ban water diversions from outside the region, with some limited exceptions, and allow states to self govern the use of Great Lakes water within the basin of their own state. This is sound policy and we cannot waver or allow for delay.

I believe the greatest measure we could take to protect Lake Erie and all its attributes is to work toward passage of the compact in the Ohio legislature and move it to the governor s desk.

Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher

Director, Ohio Department of Development

Columbus

It is high time that the Ohio General Assembly passes the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. Without the compact, Lake Erie water is vulnerable to decisions made by other states, Congress, or Canada to divert or sell water.

Already areas of the Southeast and Southwest are looking toward the Great Lakes. Ohioans must remember that Great Lakes industries are dependent on maintaining lake levels for shipping, and sufficient water supplies are necessary for agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. Legal protection is essential.

The importance of securing legal protection as soon as possible for the lakes has another aspect: The eight states in the Great Lakes watershed that must approve the compact could lose a total of 10 to 15 seats in Congress after the 2010 Census seats that surely will be redistributed to those more populated and thirsty states. This could make obtaining the consent of Congress for the compact more difficult. Now is the time to act.

The Ohio House of Representatives has passed the compact twice during the last and current legislative sessions, but it is once again being held up in the Ohio Senate because of property-rights concerns raised by Sen. Tim Grendell (R., Chesterland).

The League of Women Voters supports the compact.

Linda D. Lalley, President

League of Women Voters of OhioColumbus

In The Blade s April 1 story about selling Great Lakes water, Sandy Bihn had it right, If they want it, they should come here. That s the beginning and end of the argument for me. Having grown up in Michigan and now living in Ohio, water is what I value about our region. With the mass exodus of jobs from our states to points west and elsewhere, they can t expect to take our water with them. If they want Great Lakes water, no problem: move here to get it.

Think about the ecological impact of playing with our resources, and also look at how much our tourism economy depends on water. If people don t want to deal with water shortage issues, then don t move to a place that doesn t naturally have access to water.

As far as the politicians and their standpoint on the water issue, quit talking out of both sides of your mouth. The people who voted you into office are the ones you are responsible to, not our brothers and sisters around the country. It will be those same voters who will send you on your way if you don t figure that out. Great Lakes water should stay in the Great Lakes.

Dave Taylor

Whitehouse

Although the subject might have been better stated as great lake water and then on to the real purpose of my comments, I will stick with what I wrote.

Maybe there s always been an abundance of political misspeak and I have simply overlooked it. These days, one cannot enjoy that privilege and we all must suffer through the consequences.

To paraphrase an old politician put-down:

Q: Do you know how to tell when a politician is misspeaking?

A: When his lips are moving.

Chuck Riley

Dorr Street

The concept of selling our water to others is, well, preposterous. To those in the thirsty Southwest, I say, you moved there learn to solve your own problems.

First of all, the level of water is at or near an all-time low. Some boats can barely get out of their marinas.

Second, if you (i.e. businesses) want our water, come and get it. Move your businesses back here!

Dave Anderson

Perrysburg

Selling water from the Great Lakes is a fantastic idea that s a little ahead of it s time.

If we wait until global warming dries up the Middle East we can sell water to our friends over there for $100 per barrel. If they find that to be unfair they can drink their oil.

Denny Daly

Heatherbank Road

Everyone should recycle, period. It is good for the environment and is not difficult to do. If you don t want to recycle, fine, pay $10. I wish they would have made it $20 a month for those that don t recycle. People in the city tend to whine about nonsense instead of changing their habits slightly.

Thank you to City Council for lowering my fee. Shame on my representative (who I voted for) for not supporting it. My only wish was that they picked up our recycles weekly instead of bi-weekly.

Erin Thompson

119th Street

I hope every voter, particularly poor and low-income voters, remembers City Council. Everyone on council who voted for the increase in garbage pick-up fee should not get their jobs back. They should all be fired.

With the money they make by being on council, $10 is nothing to them.

When they run for re-election, remember who slapped us and keeps kicking us.

Bruce Whalen

Fredonia Avenue



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