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Ohio may be last state to pass water compact

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:28 PM

If Ohio lawmakers don't act quickly, the Buckeye State may be the last among eight Great Lakes states to pass the Great Lakes compact, which bans transfers of water outside of the Great Lakes drainage basin.

Wisconsin passed the compact Wednesday, sending it to the governor for his signature. Michigan approved the compact in both houses of its legislature yesterday, although the bills don't match and additional work is needed by lawmakers.

New York, Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota have already OK'd the pact.

The bill has passed Ohio's House, but has been held up in the Senate by critics led by Sen. Tim Grendell, who contends it may hamper private property rights. Erie County's senator, Mark Wagoner, has been seeking a compromise that would allow the bill to pass.

"We urge the remaining states -- Ohio and Pennsylvania -- to unite with the region, sign the compact into law and stand up for the millions of people and businesses which depend on Great Lakes water," said Andy Buchsbaum, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office.

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