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A loophole we can live without

Great_lakes_3 The Toronto Star had a front page story the other day about a pact before Congress designed to stop diversion of Great Lakes water that may contain a giant loophole that would allow bottlers to siphon as much H20 as they want, provided they ship it in small containers. The warning came from noted U.S. environmental attorney James Olsen.

Reported The Star:

"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 U.S., 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 at the heart of the deal. It is a product to be exploited for private gain, and not to be recognized as a public trust.

"While Olson is worried about the gradual loss of water levels through the activities of, say, bottling companies, under current limitations, he predicts these quantitative restrictions will turn out to be mere formalities destined to be overturned in court challenges.

"The agreement has been reported to have a veneer of glory around it, but it's much less than that," Olson said.

This does not sound good.

Jerry Zremski has a story in today's News on the status of the bill in Congress.

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