Governors of the states surrounding the Great Lakes are considering a water policy case with big implications for land development throughout the Midwest.
Waukesha, Wisconsin, a sprawling suburban area outside Milwaukee, has exhausted its water resources. Rather than cooperate with the city of Milwaukee to secure water, Waukesha spent years preparing an application to divert water from Lake Michigan. Waukesha needs permission from the states and provinces that signed the Great Lakes Compact, a 2008 agreement to protect the world’s largest freshwater source from being pillaged.
James Rowen at the Political Environment has been following the case for years. He says at least one aspect of Waukesha’s application — the part that would use Lake Michigan water to fuel more sprawling greenfield development — looks DOA:
Decision-making officials from eight Great Lakes states and advisers from two Canadian provinces reviewing Waukesha’s request for a precedent-setting diversion of water from Lake Michigan — an application that took years to write and large sums of staff and consulting time to prepare, and which Scott Walker’s DNR had said was up to snuff — have chopped from the application the so-called expanded service territory beyond Waukesha’s municipal borders and into neighboring communities which had bumped up the diversion’s daily demand and its underlying controversy.