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Great Lakes water protection agreement advances

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Great Lakes water protection agreement advances
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

The proposed Great Lakes water protection agreement keeps moving forward.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland signed it Friday.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm says she'll sign the agreement, after her Legislature passed it last week as part of a water use package.

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Wisconsin lawmakers and Gov. Jim Doyle OK'd it a few weeks ago.

It stops dry places like Phoenix from stealing Great Lakes water while making it easier for nearby communities like Waukesha to tap in.

Now, Pennsylvania is the only hold-out among the Great Lakes states.

It passed the Pennsylvania House in January, and it's still pending in the Senate.

Sen. Jane Earll of Erie says lawyers are still reviewing the language and she sees no reason her state won't pass it this fall.

Then it goes to Congress for final approval. Both major presidential candidates endorse it and there have been very few rumblings about it on Capitol Hill.

Still, backers are afraid lawmakers from more distant states will scuttle the deal especially those in need of water like Nevada.

At least one Midwest representative is not happy with the agreement.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., says it has a big loophole because it would let bottled water from the Great Lakes be sold nationwide.

Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., says his colleagues joke about stealing Great Lakes but he doubts anyone will challenge the agreement.

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