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Great Lakes deal lifts diversion ban for bottling companies

Legal precedent threatens 'severe harm' to Lakes, experts warn.

The Great Lakes seen from space.by Linda Diebel, Toronto Star

July 22, 2008 — A pact designed to preserve the Great Lakes is in reality a "slippery slope" that threatens severe harm to the world's largest body of fresh water, a top US environmental lawyer has warned Canadians.

"In effect, a precedent is being set, in that it allows for the commercialization of water. You are privatizing it," James Olson said yesterday of an agreement among eight Great Lakes states now before the US Congress and linked to Ontario and Quebec through a side deal.

Among other concerns, Olson criticizes an exemption in the Great Lakes Compact allowing water to be removed by private industry as long as it's not "bulk diversion" — in other words, restricted to containers no more than 20 litres in Canada or 5.7 gallons in the US, with no limit on the number of containers a business, such as a bottler, can sell.

That means an important legal precedent has been set giving water a "product" exemption from the diversion ban on Great Lakes water. . .

Links and sources
  Water pact will deplete Great Lakes, expert fears, by Linda Diebel, Toronto Star, July 22, 2008

Posted: August 14, 2008

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