Document Type



Michigan State Law Review




On December 13, 2005, the Governors and Premiers of the Great Lakes states and provinces signed a Compact and Agreement that commits the parties to a rigorous program to regulate individual water uses, with citizen suits to enforce the requirements. While the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact and companion Agreement are commendable in many respects, this Article argues that people who care about the future of the Great Lakes should urge policymakers to reject the current proposals and rethink the entire approach. The proposed compact is fundamentally flawed and will not achieve the ultimate stated goal of protecting and conserving the water resources of the Great Lakes.

To support its argument, this Article briefly recounts the background of the law relating to the water resources of the Great Lakes, with a particular focus on the recent negotiations that led to development of the proposed compact. It then describes the terms of the proposed compact and its structural flaws and limitations. Finally, it suggests an alternate framework that is more likely to achieve the important and widely-shared goals for promoting the sound management of the water resources of the Great Lakes Basin.