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Great Lakes Perspective Samuel W. Speck Chair, Water Management Working Group Council of Great Lakes Governors Chair, Great Lakes Commission Director, Ohio Dept of Natural Resources Waves of Change: Examining the Role of States in Emerging Ocean Policy NGA Conference September 4, 2003

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Great Lakes Perspective

Samuel W. Speck

Chair, Water Management Working Group Council of Great Lakes Governors

Chair, Great Lakes Commission

Director, Ohio Dept of Natural Resources

Waves of Change: Examining the Role of States in Emerging Ocean Policy

NGA Conference

September 4, 2003



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Great Lakes

  • Largest system of fresh water on the earth

  • 20% of world’s supply of fresh surface water; 90% of United States’ supply

  • 6 quadrillion gallons of water over 94,000 square miles of lake surface

  • Basis for multi-billion dollar industries in every state and province

  • Intensive, multiple use under a complex multi-jurisdictional management structure

  • 895 billion gallons withdrawn/used in-stream daily; (59 billion excluding hydroelectric); 2.64 billion consumed


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Great Lakes Commission provinces

  • Promotes the informed use, management and protection of the water and related natural resources of the Great Lakes Basin and St. Lawrence River

  • Addresses resource management, environmental protection, transportation and sustainable economic development issues

  • Functions are information sharing, policy research and development, and advocacy


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  • Non-partisan partnership of provinces

    eight Great Lakes Governors

  • Formed in 1983

  • Premiers of Ontario and Quebec

    are associate members

  • Mission is to encourage and facilitate

    environmentally responsible economic growth


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Great Lakes Charter provinces

  • 1985 Good-faith agreement between Great Lakes Governors and Premiers

  • Framework for protecting Basin waters from large scale diversions and consumptive uses

  • Establishment of water management principles


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Factors Leading to the Annex to the Great Lakes Charter in 2001

  • 1986 U.S. federal statute (WRDA)

    - Prohibits diversions unless approved by

    Governors of all Great Lakes States

    - Allows veto without standards

    - Regulates first drop (no threshold)

    - Ontario & Quebec not subject to U.S.

    federal law

    - In-basin consumptive uses not incl

    - Question whether ground water incl

  • 1998 Nova Group proposal

  • 1999 Recurring lower lake levels


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October 1999 2001Governors and Premiers Commitment

  • Develop new agreement

  • Develop new common standard for water removal based upon protection of the water resources

  • Secure funds to develop a better base of water use data


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Governors and Premiers Principles for Water Management Regime

  • Protect the resource

  • Be durable

  • Be simple

  • Be efficient

  • Retain authority in the Basin


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Great Lakes Charter Annex Regime

  • Signed June 18, 2001

  • In contrast to WRDA the Annex would:

    - Include Ontario and Quebec

    - Include in-basin consumptive uses

    - Include ground water

    - Commit to improve the sources & applications

    of scientific information re

    management of Basin waters


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Annex Directives Regime

  • New decision making standard

  • New set of binding agreements

  • Decision support system

  • Public participation

  • Further commitments

    Improve sources & applications of scientific information, including role of ground water


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Draft Decision Making Framework Regime

  • Regional review by State-Provincial body for large diversion and consumptive use proposals

  • Individual State or Provincial review for smaller diversion and consumptive use proposals


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Annex Implementation Regime

  • June 2004 - timeline to develop agreement

  • State-Provincial agreement

  • State legislation such as approval of an interstate compact

  • Provincial legislation


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Great Lakes Priorities Regime

  • March 1, 2001 Congressional Great Lakes Task Force request to Governors

  • Common set of priorities for Great Lakes restoration

  • CGLG Priorities Task Force

  • April 2003 GAO Great Lakes Report

  • S 1398 and HR 2720


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Great Lakes Priorities Regime

  • Leadership role of Great Lakes Governors and Premiers is key to establishing policy priorities for a comprehensive restoration plan

  • Priorities will reflect broad goals such as protection of human health, restoration of habitat, control of invasive species


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Summary Regime

  • Great Lakes Basin Commission – compact

  • Council of Great Lakes Governors – partnership

    Great Lakes Charter – good-faith agreement

    Great Lakes Charter Annex – good-faith agreement that calls for binding agreements which are being developed

    Great Lakes Priorities Task Force – partnership

  • WRDA – U.S. federal law


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Regional Management Regime

Operationalize Regional Agreements

  • Compact

  • Good-faith agreement

  • U.S. federal law

  • Currently working towards meeting intent of the Annex which calls for binding agreements


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Regional Management Regime

Biggest Challenges

  • Resolving legal issues

  • Deriving consensus among highly diverse interests

  • Developing a scientific basis for decision making

  • Bridging different histories of water regulations within the respective jurisdictions


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Regional Management Regime

What Could Be Done Differently?

  • Better monitoring and research to provide a scientific basis for decision making

  • Better coordination, definition of objectives, and measurement of results among existing programs (GAO Great Lakes Report)


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Regional Management Regime

Lessons Learned

  • Sustainability of the resource is the critical bridge for bringing people together

  • Improvement in scientific information is needed for good decision making and setting standards

  • Effective management of water resources in the Great Lakes Basin requires an international partnership

  • Bridging group such as the Great Lakes Commission is necessary to bring diverse interests together


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Regional Management Regime

What Can the Federal Government/Ocean Commission Do?

  • Recognize the key role of the States and Governors

  • Recognize the Great Lakes as part of the focus of our national ocean policy

  • Promote regional, watershed-based approach to policy development

  • Ensure the Great Lakes receive full and equitable share of federal support and funding


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“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained Regime

in water.” ~ Loren Eiseley, The Flow of the River


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