According to the New York Times, Congress has begun final debate on the Great Lakes Compact, a measure intended to prevent the large-scale diversion of water from the Great Lakes to regions outside of its watershed. It's been some dozen painful, contentious years in the making, and it's good to see that decade of effort bearing some fruit. Living, as I do, in Milwaukee, WI on Lake Michigan's western shore, the issue of water diversion is one near and dear to me. I'm an outdoor enthusiast, and a great deal of my leisure time is spent out on the water. The idea of pipelines being sunk into the Lakes to feed the irresponsible usage seen in places like L.A. and Vegas is one that people in my region have been uneasy about for some time. Hopefully, this will stymie such efforts and protect an invaluable resource.
Update: According to the Great Lakes Law blog, Rep Bart Stupak of Michigan has used procedural manipulation to delay passage of the bill. Stupak has been a dogged and irritating obstacle to the compact, not because he opposes conservation, but because he is a purist who refuses to support anything that doesn't give him 110% of what he wants. Congress adjourns next week, so swift movement on this issue would really be a good thing.
Update 2: The House has passed the bill, and Bush is expected to sign it. A good day for the Great Lakes