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Great Lakes Compact Report: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

July 13, 2011

GARY, Ind. - In a report about "the good, the bad, and the ugly" in the Great Lakes Compact, Indiana isn't looking too pretty.

The report, issued by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as the compact reached the halfway point of its five-year life, looks at how states are addressing diversions out of the basin, water conservation and efficiency, and water withdrawal permitting.

Indiana's progress in authorizing state agencies to set rules and programs is cited in the report, but Marc Smith, NWF's senior policy manager, says nothing has come to fruition.

"This report is a sobering wake-up call to step it up. The future of the compact remains bright, but our Great Lakes need a renewed commitment by the states to address the 'bad' and prevent the 'ugly.'"

State action on the conservation front is most troubling, says report author Sara Gosman. Even when programs are in place, she found, they don't necessarily follow science or provide enough education, and aren't enforced.

"When taking action on conservation, many of the states have chosen the lowest common denominator. For example, the states have chosen to create voluntary programs rather than mandatory ones."

A legally binding portion of the compact required that goals and objectives be established by December 2010. Indiana, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania missed the deadline. Wisconsin and Michigan were the states graded in the "good" category most often in the report.

The full report, "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Implementation of the Great Lakes Compact," is online at nwf.org/greatlakes.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - IN