Water Tension and the Great Lakes Compact
This presentation delves into the long history of political maneuvers and water diversion schemes that have proposed sending Great Lakes water everywhere from Akron to Arizona. Through the prism of the past, this talk analyzes the future of Great Lakes water diversion management, which is now controlled by the Great Lakes Compact, a legal document released by the Council of Great Lakes Governors in December 2005. The Compact, which prohibits most Great Lakes water diversions, with limited exceptions, was adopted by the eight state legislatures in the Great Lakes region as well as the U.S. Congress before eventually being signed by the president in 2008. A similar agreement relating to Canadian water diversions was adopted by the province of Ontario in 2007 and Quebec in 2009. This presentation analyzes several noteworthy Great Lakes diversions that already exist, and sheds light on potential water diversions of the future, including the water diversion application submitted by Waukesha, Wisconsin in 2010. A decision on the Waukesha water diversion application is expected in late 2015 or early 2016.
This event is held in partnership with the Midwest Environmental Education Conference and the Wisconsin Science Festival.
A veteran conflict and environmental journalist, Peter Annin spent more than a decade reporting on a wide variety of issues for Newsweek. For many years he specialized in coverage of domestic terrorism and the radical right, including the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City and the Branch Davidian standoff outside Waco, Texas. He has spent many years writing about the environment as well, including droughts in the Southwest, hurricanes in the Southeast, wind power on the Great Plains, forest fires in the mountain West, recovery efforts on the Great Lakes, and the causes and consequences of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
In November of 2010, Annin was named managing director of the University of Notre Dame's Environmental Change Initiative, which tackles the interrelated problems of invasive species, land use and climate change, focusing on their synergistic impacts on water resources. Before joining Notre Dame, Annin worked for a decade as Associate Director of the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources, a nonpartisan national nonprofit that organizes educational fellowships for mid-career environmental journalists. In September 2006 he published his first book, The Great Lakes Water Wars, which has been called the definitive work on the Great Lakes water diversion controversy. In 2007 the book received the Great Lakes Book Award for nonfiction. In August, he will become co-director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation at Northland College in Ashland, WI. Since 2004 Annin has served as the volunteer executive director of Gull Rock Lightkeepers, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring Gull Rock Lighthouse, a storied Lake Superior light 2.5 miles off Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a master's in international affairs from Columbia University in New York.