Kucinich Announces Bill to Close the Privatization Loophole in the Great Lakes Compact

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by Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Washington, Aug 7, 2010

Bill Would Protect the Great Lakes From Unlimited Access by Bottled Water Companies

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today announced H.R. 6006, which closes a loophole that allows the bottled water industry to divert or export an unlimited amount of water from the Great Lakes. The bill was introduced along with cosponsors Bart Stupak (MI), Marcy Kaptur (OH) and Betty McCollum (MN).

“The Great Lakes are among world’s greatest natural resources. This common sense legislation will protect this valuable resource from being privatized,” said Kucinich.

Congressman Kucinich was the first in Congress to raise concerns about the provisions of the Great Lakes Compact when it was still being negotiated. In 2006, he wrote a seminal article about it in Waterkeeper magazine. In September, 2008, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Great Lakes Compact despite concern about a loophole that paves the way for privatization of Great Lakes waters.

The Compact bans diversions or exports of water out of the Great Lakes Basin. However, the diversion ban does not apply to water itself that is intended to be exported or sold as a “product.” That means that as long as the water is intended to be sold, there is no limit to the amount that can be withdrawn. The Compact also expressly exempts containers of 5.7 gallons or less — the so-called bottled water exception.

“Under my bill, businesses, farmers, and citizens can use Great Lakes water for their private or public needs, and at the same time will be protected from outside interests who want to package or export the water under their feet or off their shoreline,” added Kucinich.

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