Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm going to need more hose

Owen Robinson celebrates the state assembly's failure to pass the Great Lakes Water Compact during the most recent session.


The Republican majority in the state Assembly tonight blocked an effort by Democrats to hold a vote on the Great Lakes compact.

There is no reason that Wisconsin should surrender its water policy to the neighboring states, who have no interest in Wisconsin’s well being.
I agree. Iowa should have absolutely no say in the water coming from Lake Michigan. Screw 'em.

However, since we kinda share the Great Lakes with a bunch of other states, we're kinda stuck with sharing the decision making. It's not like we can say we'll give this part of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior to Wisconsin, this part of Lake Superior to Minnesota, this part of the Great Lakes to Michigan, etc. It's one big interdependent freshwater system with the state of Michigan in the middle.

To mask this as an issue of a state's sovereignty over it's resources is just silly. (What are we going to do? "Fresh water or fight! Manifest Destiny for Wisconsin! Knock those UP'ers right in the lake!") Even if we could have Senator Mary Lazich's dream of no controlling authority over the lakes we would be faced with a long-term losing proposition. Doesn't anyone remember the "tragedy of the commons"? What do Lazich and Huebsch think is going to happen with unlimited straws in the drink?

Unfortunately for Lazich and Huebsch and Robinson and the Waukesha Chamber of Commerce, even if they could convince themselves some anarchic utopia is possible, current law won't allow it. D'oh!

Current law allows each state veto authority over any diversion from the lakes. Unlike what life would be under the compact, there would be no defined criteria for a diversion. There would be no process. It would be at the capricious whim of each of the Great Lakes governors. Don't trust Michigan now? Why would you feel better if they didn't have to justify their veto?

Now I'm not going to lose any sleep over the state assembly not taking up the Compact because there's going to be a special session, etc. And seriously, a couple of weeks or even a couple of months isn't going to make much difference except wear down the opposition. I suspect that some of the screams of partisanship about the Great Lakes Compact are really just partisan ploys themselves. (Republicans bad. Republicans want Great Lakes to be Arizona's bath tub. yadda yadda yadda.) Besides, a delay keeps Jim Rowen busy and out of trouble.

And in the meantime, Owen Robinson has promised everyone in Waukesha we can borrow some of his radium-free drinking water. We'll just need to run a hose to his house in West Bend and help ourselves to as much as we want. Who has got a Fleet Farm charge card to buy a really big hose?