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Water pact comment period to end Oct. 18

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources yesterday issued a reminder that Oct. 18 is the cutoff date for written comments to be submitted about a proposed regional compact that aims to limit bulk exports and transfers of Great Lakes water.

Great Lakes governors and premiers have been taking comments since mid-July on the proposed agreement, called Annex 2001 in recognition of the year that officials pledged in Niagara Falls, N.Y. to move forward with such a document.

Officials have said it was drafted to bring the region in sync with changes under the North American Free Trade Agreement and other other aspects of international law that could leave Great Lakes water vulnerable to becoming viewed by the courts as a tradable commodity, like oil and timber.

The annex would supplement and update an earlier charter among governors. Gov. Bob Taft, chairman of the Great Lakes Council of Governors, has presided over the latest version.

Comments may be submitted to Annex Comments, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water, 2045 Morse Rd., Columbus, OH 43229 or by e-mail to annexcomments@dnr.state.oh.us, the agency said.

Documents can be viewed on the Ohio DNR's Web site, www.ohiodnr.com, or the governors' council Web site, www.cglg.org.

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