WASHINGTON -- Great Lakes lawmakers are serious about their water.
Not content to wait for the results of a U.S.-Canadian study, a bipartisan, multi-state group has introduced a bill suspending bulk sales of the lakes' water until the two nations can agree on and enact a joint policy governing exports.
A report on the subject is due from the International Joint Commission next February, with the first draft expected next month.
The U.S.-Canada study will determine what might happen if any of the 6 quadrillion gallons of water in the lake system is allowed to be shipped from the region by the tankerful.
The study also is to cover border waters outside the Great Lakes, from Alaska to Maine.
In the meantime, Rep. Steve LaTourette, co-chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force, said it was imperative for states bordering the lakes to insist on a new law that allows export of water ``over our dead bass.''
Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, attributed the lawmakers' sense of urgency to last year's fizzled attempt by a Canadian company interested in selling tankers of Lake Superior water to Asia.
``We've been lucky no other company has attempted to do this,'' he said. ``Luck and time are not on our side. That's why we must impose a moratorium on the sale of lake water until the U.S. enacts a law banning water sales.''
``It's time to put our natural fresh resources ahead of corporate revenues. Let's stop the sale and diversion of our fresh water,'' said the bill's prime sponsor, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich.
The bill's cosponsors include LaTourette, Brown, and Reps. David Bonior, D-Mich.; Tom Barrett, D-Wisc.; Jack Quinn, R-New York; and Ted Strickland, D-Ohio.
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