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Jenner & Block has been representing, pro bono, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (Cities Initiative) in its challenge to a decision by the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council (Compact Council) that allows the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin to divert water from Lake Michigan. The Council’s decision was the first-ever approval of a diversion of Great Lakes water to a community outside the Great Lakes basin. Waukesha lies in a county that straddles the basin.
As part of its challenge, the Cities Initiative sought clarification of the standards used to evaluate the Waukesha diversion application as well as the standards that the Council would use to evaluate future diversion requests. On August 2, 2017, the Cities Initiative announced it was settling its challenge pursuant to an agreement with the Compact Council that calls for a rigorous review of the Council’s process for considering diversions, with extensive stakeholder input in determining formal rules and revised guidelines for the future.
“This agreement will help protect the long-term integrity of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River for future generations,” said Cities Initiative Secretary Régis Labeaume.
John Dickert, Cities Initiative president and CEO, added, “This mutually beneficial settlement agreement has set the foundation for meaningful progress to safeguard our valuable water resources.”
The firm’s team in this matter was led by Partner Jill M. Hutchison, assisted by Partners E. Lynn Grayson, Steven M. Siros and Allison A. Torrence; Of Counsel Stephen H. Armstrong and Anne (Andi) Samuels Kenney; and Associates Alexander J. Bandza and Laura C. Bishop.