Wisconsin's Governor testifies before Congress in support of the Great Lakes Compact.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Governor Jim Doyle urges lawmakers to quickly approve the water protection agreement, which he calls "A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect our Great Lakes." Doyle later told reporters that, as Chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, he's pleased to have lots of support for the plan, including from President Bush.
"It's one of these pieces of legislation … it's pretty rare right now in Washington, but Democrats and Republicans agree. The Administration and Congress agree. We're really hopeful that we're gonna get this done."
Doyle says the real work begins after the Compact passes through Congress and gets the President's approval.
"All the states also have to get to work on creating a water conservation plan that will be submitted to the Commission as well. That's gonna be a very important part of the process, because it has all of the states working in their own states, but then coming together to create a water conservation plan within the Great Lakes basin."
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-Middleton) chaired the Committee hearing. He says it's important to protect the quality and quantity of one of the world's biggest sources of fresh water.
"Despite the vastness of the Great Lakes, they are not an unlimited, easily-replenished resource."
The Compact prohibits the diversion of water from the five Great Lakes to dry states or other countries. The Great Lakes generate $55 billion in tourism for the region and create nearly $377 million in personal income from wages and salaries.
The Great Lakes Compact has been approved by the eight Great Lakes state legislatures. It must be approved in Congress and the president.