Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wachtmann Blasts Distortions about Great Lakes Compact, Water Withdrawal Regulatory Program Bill

COLUMBUS—State Representative Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) today denounced the outright misinformation and falsities surrounding House Bill 231, which will implement Ohio’s first-ever water withdrawal regulatory program as required by the Great Lakes Compact in an effort to promote business growth.
In a statement released on Friday, former Governor and U.S. Senator George Voinovich attacked the job-creation potential of House Bill 231 and falsely accused it of undermining the resource protections established in the Great Lakes Compact. This was preceded by testimony by former Governor Bob Taft to the Senate Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Representative Wachtmann responded in length today in a letter to all members of the Ohio Senate, in which he responded to each of the inaccurate claims made about the bill.
“I feel compelled to respond to testimony you recently heard from Gov. Taft and a letter from Gov. Voinovich regarding House Bill 231, the implementation of the Great Lakes Compact,” Wachtmann said in response to the grossly exaggerated claims by the former governors, whose claims mirror the attacks by state environmentalist groups. “Unfortunately, they received inaccurate information about what is actually in the bill. Certain groups feel compelled to continue to spread misinformation and I have taken the liberty of responding to the testimony and letter.”
House Bill 231 allows Ohioans to utilize and invest in fresh-water resources without jeopardizing Ohio’s lakes and rivers. It will work in accordance with the Great Lakes Compact, which has been adopted in all eight Great Lakes border states and specifically in Ohio in 2008 as a way to prevent diversions of water to areas outside of the Great Lakes Basin. Access to affordable, abundant and reliable water supplies from the Lake Erie Basin is a cornerstone in retaining and attracting businesses to northern Ohio. In order for Ohio to remain economically competitive Ohioans need to encourage ongoing investment by utilizing the abundant water resources we have available.
“House Bill 231 is just one of the ways that we have worked to create jobs and attract more investment in Ohio,” Wachtmann added. “No one is disputing the fact that Lake Erie is one of our most precious resources, from tourist activity to recreation. For Senator Voinovich to insinuate through his letter that my House colleagues and I, in any way, are attempting to soil the integrity of our Great Lake and its viability for future generations is simply untrue. We cannot pass up the opportunity for business growth and economic investment, which is an infinite possibility through this legislation.”
House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee process on H.B. 231 was open and transparent, providing plenty of opportunity for the public to testify. There were five hearings in the committee and 12 witnesses who spoke to the bill.