If state Rep. Lynn Wachtmann had his way, Ohio would have enacted legislation implementing the Great Lakes Compact last summer. Instead, John Kasich delivered a veto, reflecting the concerns of Bob Taft and George Voinovich, not to mention fellow governors in Michigan and New York. The legislature went back to work, and now is weighing a second, improved version.
Wachtmann has been touting the rewrite, and dismissing the counsel of Voinovich, Taft and others to make it better. The Napoleon Republican argues that critics are “dead wrong” that the new draft departs from state law. Yet current law makes plain the duty to prevent significant harm to Lake Erie and its tributaries.
The lawmaker points to “goofy scientists” armed with a “political agenda.” He raises the specter of outside interests who “simply want to kill jobs in this state.” Taft? Voinovich? The anglers who worry that leaning in favor of larger business interests will put at risk their pastime and livelihoods driven by fishing in Lake Erie?
Worth noting is that Wachtmann owns a water bottling company. Or put another way, he seems to fall far short of a disinterested party. Those scientists are armed with real data about the fragility of Lake Erie. No one wants to kill jobs. The aim is to strike a balance, knowing that the first obligation concerning the Great Lakes is ensuring their healthy place for generations to come.