Historic Great Lakes Protection Compact Approved by Congress

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Contact:
John Walliser
Vice President, Government & Legal Affairs
(412) 481-9400 office
(724) 719-0069 mobile
[email protected]

For Immediate Release

HISTORIC GREAT LAKES PROTECTION COMPACT APPROVED BY CONGRESS

Harrisburg, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) today praised members of Congress for passing a joint resolution consenting to the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.  Already approved by all eight Great Lakes states, including Pennsylvania, the resolution now goes to President George W. Bush, who has committed to sign it.

“The mutual approval by the states and Congress truly indicates the importance of and immediate need for the Great Lakes Compact” noted John Walliser, Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs for PEC.  “Without question, the ecological health of the Great Lakes is critical to the economic vitality of Pennsylvania.  Lake Erie is at the heart of business and tourism for the region; the Great Lakes Compact is a comprehensive step to ensuring its long-term protection.”

The Great Lakes Compact is the result of five years of negotiation between the eight Great Lakes states, providing a comprehensive management framework for achieving sustainable water use and resource protection.

The Compact was approved in Pennsylvania in July of this year (Act 43 of 2008), resulting from legislation introduced by Representative Patrick Harkins that was supported by Senators Jane Earll, Ray Musto, and Mary Jo White, as well as Representatives John Evans, Bud George, Florindo Fabrizio, John Hornaman, Scott Hutchinson, and Curt Sonney.  Governor Ed Rendell was a strong proponent of the Great Lakes Compact.

U.S. Senators Robert Casey and Arlen Specter co-sponsored a Resolution consenting to the Compact, which passed the Senate in August and was approved by the House of Representatives today.

“Thanks to the leadership of the General Assembly, Governors Rendell, and members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation, the Great Lakes – a globally unique resource – will be protected for generations to come” said Walliser.

In 2007 PEC, in collaboration with private and public partners, formed a stakeholders group in the Lake Erie watershed which included representatives from local business, agriculture, environmental interests and local government to help develop the adoption legislation for the Great Lakes Compact, and support its enactment in Pennsylvania.

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The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) protects and restores the natural and built environments through innovation, collaboration, education and advocacy. PEC believes in the value of partnerships with the private sector, government, communities and individuals to improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.  Learn more about PEC at https://pecpa.org/