Candice Miller presses for clarity on Lake Michigan water diversion

Apr 17, 2013 Issues: Great Lakes

WASHINGTON — A Michigan congresswoman is pressing the Army Corps of Engineers to account for how much water Illinois is diverting from Lake Michigan at a time of historic low water levels in the Great Lakes.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, on Wednesday sent a letter to the Corps’ Jo-Ellen Darcy, complaining that the agency hasn’t provided an “accounting of water diverted from Lake Michigan to the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal” for four years despite being required to do so.

Referring to an earlier response from Darcy, Miller said she appreciated Darcy’s “assurances that this diversion has a negligible impact”on lake levels but still would like to see an accounting. She requested that the agency “continue to find ways to mitigate the damage caused by these historical low water levels.”

Miller said she might seek to revise the consent decree by which the accounting for Lake Michigan diversions is performed or seek to make federal changes through legislation. In a separate letter to Gov. Rick Snyder, she raised the issue as well, noting that the state of Illinois is under a limit for its diversions but was found in the 1990s to have exceeded it.

“There is much uncertainty about the true amount being sent to Illinois,” she said.