Monday, November 29, 2004

Canadians mull latest Great Lakes water plan

Water issue between two countries is always an issue. But as a good neighbor, I am sure best things is to resolve it peacefully on the table.

Canadians mull latest Great Lakes water plan
Some query motive of Ohio's governor


One of Canada's parliamentary committees has begun taking testimony on the latest plan to curb Great Lakes diversions and bulk withdrawals, another sign that some influential Canadians are questioning the motives of a regional effort led by Gov. Bob Taft's administration since 2001.

The review is the first of its kind on the federal level of a proposal called Annex 2001, written to close legal loopholes in a 1985 charter among governors.

Canada's Parliament and the U.S. Congress were expected to have hearings on the annex after governors and premiers signed it, something which now is not expected to occur until at least the summer of 2005.

No hearings were expected on the federal level in either country before governors and premiers had reached an agreement among themselves, Dick Bartz, Ohio Department of Natural Resources water chief, said. Mr. Bartz is one of the architects of the draft version put out July 19 for 90 days of public comment.

"Given the comments that were received, though, I guess it's not surprising that somebody [in Canada's Parliament] would take it up and hold hearings," Mr. Bartz said.

Supporters hail Annex 2001 as a measure that could both encourage water conservation and halt any large-scale attempts to divert water to parched states such as California, Arizona, and Nevada, as well as potential exports to other parts of the world.

But after three years of near-silence, an opposition movement has arisen. A citizens' group called the Council of Canadians, for one, questions if U.S. governors had ulterior motives in proposing Annex 2001. The council, which claims to have a membership of 100,000, alleges numerous exemptions were included to accommodate growing communities on the American side of the border.Printer-friendly version

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