Friday, February 12, 2010

Federal takeover of the Great Lakes looms. What's next?

While many Great Lakes states residents are worried about the dangers of an Asian carp invasion, some in Michigan are worried about a far more insidious threat.  From The Detroit News:
Like Asian carp and other invasive species, the White House has recently laid the groundwork for a federal takeover of the Great Lakes and its tributaries. The activities of a White House task force have raised questions about state sovereignty and federal control over natural resources. It is imperative that Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Legislature get answers, especially since they are discussing the threat of the Asian carp with the Obama administration.

In June, the White House created an Interagency Oceans and Great Lakes Policy Task Force whose statements, at the least, confuse the issue of state sovereignty and, at the worst, threaten it. In fact, the task force effectively authorizes the feds to take over jurisdiction of one of the remaining linchpins of Michigan's economy, our multibillion-dollar fishing industry that generates over 27,000 jobs.

The Great Lakes states have always managed their natural resources from the land up to the shoreline and three miles out. The feds have jurisdiction after that point and in international waterways.

But the federal task force released a marine planning report in December that confuses jurisdictional lines by stating, "The geographic scope for the Great Lakes would extend from the ordinary high-water mark and include the lakebed, subsoil and water column."

The report does acknowledge that the "submerged land underlying the Great Lakes is entirely under the jurisdiction and ownership of the Great Lakes States." However, it adds that "additional inland areas may be included" within the scope of the federal government's power, and "inclusion of inland bays and estuaries is essential." There is also a reference to the Great Lakes being part of a "global sea."

"In my opinion, the report is concerning in that the proposed activities seem to blur the lines between the federal agency roles and the management jurisdictions and responsibilities of Great Lakes states," says Tammy Newcomb, research program manager for the Fisheries Division in the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
I guess Rahm Emmanuel telegraphed this back in November of 2008:
"Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."
Like nationalizing our nation's waterways?

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