Archive for the 'Minnesota' Category

Jun 28 2009

A Great Lakes water sale loophole?

David Dempsey, a writer for the environmental group Conservation Minnesota, contends in a June 28 op-ed for the Minneapolis Tribune that in spite of the new Great Lakes compact, water in bulk could be privatized and sold from the lakes.

“The compact originated from a Canadian firm’s proposal in 1998 to export 50 tankers per year of Lake Superior water to Asia,” he writes. “The Great Lakes states and many citizens worked to prevent the commercialization of the lakes. But they didn’t succeed. While it is now illegal to export 50 tankers per year of Lake Superior water without the permission of the governors of every Great Lakes state, it is perfectly legal to export 50 tankers per year of bottles or other containers holding Lake Superior water with no interstate approval.”

He points out that Texas businessman T. Boone Pickens has made a large-scale market in Texas of water rights, some of which he has sold to local communities.

Dempsey’s prescription:

Correct the oversight in Minnesota’s and other Great Lakes states’ laws that fails to reaffirm water as a public resource that cannot be privately owned, any more than the air can.

Enact a congressional resolution expressing the policy of the U.S. House, Senate and president that the Great Lakes Compact cannot be interpreted or used by any party to claim private water ownership.

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