Kim Palmer | 11/14/07 @ 6:31pm
Last week, Cleveland City Council weighed in on the side of the Ohio House of Representatives in support of the long-awaited Great Lakes Compact (GLC).In an emergency resolution, council officially supported the findings of the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act better known at the GLC. The resolution is mainly ceremonial in nature but is an attempt to put pressure on the Ohio Sente to pass House Bill 574-which was passed in the House and would ratify the agreement between the eight Great Lakes governors and the local governments of Ontario and Quebec.At the heart of the GLC is the creation of a binding multi-regional agreement to prohibit the selling of Great Lakes water to any area outside of the basin and would require comprehensive conservation plan for the Great Lakes.The GLC is considered by most over due and has received almost unanimous support. The compact took seven years to complete and was the work of more than 1,500 individual with 140 scientists endorsing it.From that you would expect smooth sailing for the bill through the Ohio Senate, but issues brought up by State Sen. Tim Grendell (R-Chester Township) threaten the bill's passage. Grendell believes that wording deep in the GLC impinges on the private ownership of bodies of water within the Lake Erie basin.Although supporters of the bill have offered to modify language in order to address any private ownership issue, Grendell seems to be holding his ground prompting the City resolution. The bill has been shuttled to the Senate Rules Committee for further analysis, as reported in this article in a Fort Wayne paper.This private/public property issue has come up before and will probably continue as the reality of how to make significant improvements to Lake Erie water quality are realized. Although agreements have been in place since the early 1900s regarding international cooperation, the GLC is the first to back-up those sentiments with enforceable, funded law. The GLC was created not to enforce public trust designations on private lakes, but was written to protect Lake Erie from a "tipping point of irreversible change". Support from the city is welcomed and hopefully heralds a new era of cooperation among all Lake Erie stakeholders and a subsequent understanding from Ohio's politicians.