Mayors and Governors Reach Agreement to Improve Water Diversion Application Process

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (Cities Initiative) announced today it is settling its challenge to the Waukesha Diversion Approval with an agreement to collaborate on improving the review of water diversion applications in the future. The agreement between the Cities Initiative and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council (Compact Council) calls for a rigorous review of the Compact Council and Regional Body’s process for considering diversions, with extensive stakeholder involvement in determining formal rules and revised guidelines for the future.

“Our challenge has always been about improving the Compact to ensure the protection of our water resources,” said Paul Dyster, Mayor of Niagara Falls, New York and Chair of the Cities Initiative. “We want to make sure future applications for diversion are subject to robust and detailed standards of evaluation and a thorough process allowing input from impacted stakeholders.”

Sandra Cooper, Mayor of the Town of Collingwood, Ontario and Vice Chair of the Cities Initiative added, “As a binational organization, we are proud to be working with the Compact Council, Regional Body, and other stakeholders in the U.S. and Canada to improve the process for future water diversion applications.”

“This agreement will help protect the long term integrity of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River for future generations,” said Régis Labeaume, President of the Québec Metropolitan Community and Secretary of the Cities Initiative. “As governors and mayors, we must be held accountable and work together for the protection of our region’s most cherished resource.”

The agreement includes review of many aspects of the process for evaluating applications for diversion, including the public engagement process, development of the record to support any decisions made by the Compact Council and Regional Body, public hearings in Canada and the United States, consideration of new information that becomes available during the process, changes in the application while under consideration, and much more.

“We appreciate the tremendous consideration the Compact Council has given us,” said John Dickert, President and CEO of the Cites Initiative. “This mutually beneficial settlement agreement has set the foundation for meaningful progress to safeguard our valuable water resources.”

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a coalition of 131 U.S. and Canadian cities and mayors representing over 17 million people committed to the long term protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. The Cities Initiative thanks Jenner & Block LLP for its efforts in support of the challenge and the future of the Great Lakes.