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Perspectives on Great Lakes Compact, Water Policy

Once approved by the U.S. and Canadian governments, the Great Lakes Compact will for one thing, erect a “legal fence” prohibiting the exportation of water from the Great Lakes basin. “The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater source on the planet, and their protection and smart use are essential,” says water resource management and policy expert Bill Blomquist.

Lawmakers in several U.S. states and two Canadian provinces have approved an agreement designed to safeguard the world’s largest freshwater source – the Great Lakes. Once approved by the U.S. and Canadian governments, the Great Lakes Compact will for one thing, erect a “legal fence” prohibiting the exportation of water from the Great Lakes basin.

“The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater source on the planet, and their protection and smart use are essential,” says water resource management and policy expert Bill Blomquist. Blomquist is dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

“The compact prohibits export of water from the land area that drains into the Lakes, constructing a legal fence to keep Great Lakes water within the Great Lakes basin. It also provides guidelines for state and provincial regulation of shipping within the Great Lakes. Shipping is a critical element of the economies of the Great Lakes states and provinces, but also poses threats to water quality and aquatic species, so the states and provinces felt the need for a framework to govern their regulations.

“The new compact is a symbol of a couple of broader trends and topic. One is the willingness and ability of states and provinces to undertake their own environmental policies, without necessarily waiting for their national governments to set policies for them. Another is the recognition of the importance (and growing scarcity) of freshwater supplies throughout the world.”

Blomquist, a political science professor, is co-author of “Embracing Watershed Politics,” which discusses and illustrates why political considerations are essential, unavoidable and even desirable as Americans seek to protect and manage the country’s watersheds.

To interview Blomquist, call (317) 274-1904. He also can be reached by e-mail at

Philip V. Scarpino, associate professor of history at IUPUI can provide an historical perspective of water quality issues in the Great Lakes region. He can discuss the need for a coordinated effort to restore water quality in the region, and provide historical perspective on various Great Lakes issues, including water quality; navigation; Canadian-American relations, and the eradication of fish viruses, and erotic evasive species such as Zebra mussels and lampreys.

To arrange an interview with Scarpino, please call Diane Brown at (317) 274-2195 or (317) 371-0437.

ABOUT IUPUI: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) combines the strengths of Indiana University’s programs in liberal arts, medicine, nursing, dentistry, law, public affairs, informatics, social work, education and music with Purdue University’s expertise in engineering, technology, and science. With 22 schools and academic units, IUPUI grants degrees in more than 200 programs from both Indiana University and Purdue University.

Diane Brown | Newswise Science News
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