Democratic and Republican legislators from Michigan have unified behind a common sentiment: They want the Great Lakes states governors to reject Waukesha's water diversion application.
In a letter addressed to all eight Great Lakes governors, 11 Michigan congressional representatives urged governors to vote down Waukesha's proposal to pump up to 8.2 million gallons of Lake Michigan water into the city by 2050.
'We do not believe the city of Waukesha has made a compelling case that satisfies the severe circumstances outlined in the (Great Lakes) Compact,' the letter said. 'We firmly believe the approval of this request would threaten the precious, finite resources provided by our lakes.'
Waukesha is asking for Lake Michigan water under a 'straddling county' exception of the compact, a federal law that details how the Great Lakes states should work together to manage and protect the Great Lakes Basin.
The letter was jointly penned by U.S. Reps. Candice Miller, a Republican, and Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, both of whom represent congressional districts in Michigan, a Great Lakes state.
'(W)e believe that Waukesha has not exhausted all of its options for providing safe and clean water to its residents,' the letter continued.
The city filed its diversion application in 2010 in an attempt to meet its long-term water needs and comply with radium restrictions. Waukesha is under a court-ordered deadline to have radium-compliant water by 2018.
Both Mayor Shawn Reilly and Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak have said that Lake Michigan is the best and only option for a sustainable water supply.
For and against
The letter comes on the heels of a favorable review of the city's application by the Great Lakes Regional Body, which had been tasked with examining the findings of fact in the application.
In May, the body approved the city's application with conditions, including a reduced service area and a draw of no more than 8.2 million gallons of water per day by mid-century. Under the application, 100 percent of the water would be returned to Lake Michigan through the Root River.
Miller and Dingell were joined in signing the letter by Republicans Mike Bishop, Tim Walberg, Bill Huizenga, Fred Upton, David Trott, John Moolenaar and Dan Benishek, and Democrats Brenda Lawrence and John Conyers Jr.
Great Lakes conservation groups have also consistently voiced opposition to Waukesha's application.
The application is scheduled to go before the Great Lakes governors, or their designated representatives, for a final vote June 21.
A unanimous, favorable vote is required for approval.