Rethinking the Great Lakes Compact

29 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2007


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.

Keywords: Great Lakes, water resources law, natural resources law, water resources management, water resources compact, water resources policy

JEL Classification: K32, N40, O13, Q25, Q31, Q48

Suggested Citation

Squillace, Mark Stephen, Rethinking the Great Lakes Compact. Michigan State Law Review, 2007, U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Working Paper No. 07-01, Available at SSRN:

Mark Stephen Squillace (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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