Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) voted with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to ratify S.J.Res. 45, the Great Lakes Compact.
“Regions like Western New York that can claim direct access to the Great Lakes share a unique advantage and equally unique responsibility,” said Congressman Higgins. “Ratification of this historic interstate and international compact demonstrates a national commitment to protecting and preserving a healthy lake system.”
The Great Lakes Compact is an agreement between the Governors of New York, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec which will ban new diversions of water from the Great Lakes basin and provide for coordinated conservation, use and data collection efforts. Recently Congressman Higgins sent a letter to House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging approval of the Compact bill.
Congressman Higgins is a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force and led a local roundtable discussion on the Great Lakes last November. The Congressman is a cosponsor of the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act, Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization Act, Beach Protection Act, Clean Water Restoration Act and the Water Quality Investment Act.
Most recently Rep. Higgins was involved with the “Healthy Lakes, Healthy Lives” tour, organized by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, which was designated to raise awareness and call for action on the problems facing our lakes.
“Beyond the obvious environmental justifications for protecting the Great Lakes, development of Western New York’s waterfront brings great economic promise, but that potential is lost without a serious focus on water quality and longevity,” added Higgins.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 30 million people live in the Great Lakes basin. The Great Lakes represent the largest surface source of fresh water on this planet. Recently the Brookings Institute found that Buffalo would see economic gains between $600 million to $1.1 billion if the Great Lakes are restored.
The Compact, approved by the Senate on August 1, 2008, will now go to the President for his signature.