Saturday, 7 June 2008

The Great Lakes Compact

NASA photo courtesy of WaterSecretsBlog
The Great Lakes Compact is meant to protect and restrict access to nearly 20 percent of the world's supply of fresh water -- threatened by the thirsty Southwest, pollution, and climate change. Political controversy has already erupted between have and have-not states (see David Dempsey's blog June 2008). The compact has been ratified by Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and New York, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario; it is pending in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"Water is the oil of this century,” Dow CEO Andrew Liveris told the World Economic Forum elite in February 2008. Big corporations aim to profit from "blue gold": Bechtel, Dow, General Electric, Veolia, Suez , RWE, Nestle, Aqua America, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, to name only a few.

Great Lakes historic water levels: from Great Lakes wiki
Current concerns include climate change threats to the stability of the Great Lakes ecosystem, urban and agricultural runoff, toxic pollution, beach closures, invasive species, fish and wildlife decline, deforestation, water levels in the Seaway-St Lawrence, and a $26b restoration urged by the Brookings Institution.

Further reading:

Our previous post on the right to water vs the corporate water lobby, backed by Canada and US
US domestic controversy: Chicago Tribune 27 May 08; Southwest pipeline plans in Aquafornia and; National Catholic Reporter 18 Apr 08 "Tapping a Strained Supply".
Polaris Institute 29 Nov 07, "Bottled water companies just swimming in profits".
Proposed Lake Erie and NAFTA water pipelines
Maude Barlow's Blue Planet / Projet Planète Bleue / Proyecto Planeta Azul
Wikipedia on water privatization
Corpwatch on private water company plans
NFB-ONF videos
Dead in the Water / Le hold-up de l'eau (52 min, 2006)
The Waterfront video/DVD
about privatizating water in a black Detroit suburb (53 minutes, 2007)
These official sources should be read together with NGO criticism: Environment Canada "Great Lakes" is bland and uninformative; International Joint Commission / Commission Mixte Internationale and its publications incl. Plan 2007 an order regulating flow in St Lawrence River, 2nd Summary of Critical Air Quality Issues (Dec 2007), Expert Consultation on Emerging Issues of the Great Lakes in the 21st Century (2007).
Pro-business: Brookings Institution plan for $26b restoration in study by J.C. Austin, S. Anderson, P.N. Courant and R.E. Litan, Healthy Waters, Strong Economy: The Benefits of Restoring the Great Lakes Ecosystem (2007) and Great Lakes Economic Initiative
NGO sources
Great Lakes wiki by U Michigan journalism students
GLIN Great Lakes Information Network
Great Lakes Restoration & the Threat of Global Warming (May 2008)
U Guelph Canada's Aquatic Environments with links
Sierra Legal (now Ecojustice) The Great Lakes Sewage Report Card (Nov 2006)
National Wildlife Federation study by N. Hall and B. Stuntz, Climate Change and Great Lakes Water Resources (2007)
Union of Concerned Scientists, Great Lakes Communities and Ecosystems at Risk
Barbara Spring's book The Dynamic Great Lakes and her Great Lakes blog; other
US bloggers on the Great Lakes Compact; Great Lakes Law blog
H2O podcasts; Joyce Rouse Earthmama songs and study guide A Little Water Music

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