Update on Great Lakes Water Diversion Challenge

sunrise over lake michigan
Type: 
Blog Post

This update on the Great Lakes water diversion challenge comes from the legal team at Midwest Environmental Advocates:

Last year, we challenged DNR’s approval of Racine's request to divert Lake Michigan water for the Foxconn development. We expect a final decision this summer. In May 2018, Midwest Environmental Advocates challenged the approval on behalf of League of Women Voters and other organizations who assert that DNR unreasonably interpreted a statute that allows diversions of Great Lakes water only if the diverted water will be used solely for public water supply purposes. The Great Lakes Compact defines public water supply purposes as “serving a group of largely residential customers.” We argue in this case that DNR should have denied Racine’s diversion request because all of the water will be used by Foxconn and other industrial users. Of the 7 million gallons of water per day that Racine proposes to transfer outside of the Great Lakes Basin, not a single gallon will serve residential customers.

What this case really comes down to is the interpretation of the phrase public water supply purposes. None of the parties disputes any of the material facts in this case, so in December of last year, MEA attorneys filed a motion for summary judgement asking the judge to rule on DNR's interpretation of public water supply purposes. After a series of back-and-forth briefings, we now await the judge's decision, which we anticipate will come sometime this summer. Thank you to all who have supported our work to uphold the Great Lakes Compact and to protect the world's largest freshwater ecosystem for future generations.

You can also take action to guarantee the future of the Great Lakes by signing the Protect Our Great Lakes pledge.

 

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Wisconsin