Great Lakes Water Resources Compact
Minnesota could become the first state to commit to a common set of standards protecting Great Lakes water under a measure backed in the state Senate. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact would establish tighter standards for withdrawing or diverting water from the basin and would require the eight states bordering the five lakes to establish water conservation programs.
The compact is the product of six years of negotiations among the states and two Canadian provinces. For it to become effective, the eight states must adopt the same language, and Congress must ratify it. Besides Minnesota, those states are Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio.
The Minnesota House approved the bill earlier this month and the Senate is expected to give final approval. If Gov. Tim Pawlenty signs the legislation, Minnesota would become the first Great Lakes state to adopt the compact. No other state has passed bills in both chambers. About 7 percent of Minnesota's land area is within Lake Superior's watershed, which faces threats such as invasive species and low water levels.