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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

1.21 GREAT LAKES BASIN COMPACT.
The Great Lakes Basin Compact is ratified, enacted into law, and entered into by this state as
a party with any other state or province which, pursuant to article II of the compact, has legally
joined in it in the form substantially as follows:
The party states solemnly agree:
ARTICLE I
The purposes of this compact are, through means of joint or cooperative action:
1. To promote the orderly, integrated, and comprehensive development, use, and conservation
of the water resources of the Great Lakes Basin (hereinafter called the Basin),
2. To plan for the welfare and development of the water resources of the Basin as a whole as
well as for those portions of the Basin which may have problems of special concern.
3. To make it possible for the states of the Basin and their people to derive the maximum
benefit from utilization of public works, in the form of navigational aids or otherwise, which may
exist or which may be constructed from time to time.
4. To advise in securing and maintaining a proper balance among industrial, commercial,
agricultural, water supply, residential, recreational, and other legitimate uses of the water
resources of the Basin.
5. To establish and maintain an intergovernmental agency to the end that the purposes of this
compact may be accomplished more effectively.
ARTICLE II
A. This compact shall enter into force and become effective and binding when it has been
enacted by the legislatures of any four of the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota,
New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and thereafter shall enter into force and become
effective and binding as to any other of said states when enacted by the legislature thereof.
B. The Province of Ontario and the Province of Quebec, or either of them, may become
states party to this compact by taking such action as their laws and the laws of the Government of
Canada may prescribe for adherence thereto. For the purpose of this compact the word "state"
shall be construed to include a province of Canada.
ARTICLE III
The Great Lakes Commission created by Article IV of this compact shall exercise its powers
and perform its functions in respect to the Basin which, for the purposes of this compact, shall
consist of so much of the following as may be within the party states:
1. Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, St. Clair, Superior, and the St. Lawrence River,
together with any and all natural or man-made water interconnections between or among them.
2. All rivers, ponds, lakes, streams, and other watercourses which, in their natural state or in
their prevailing condition, are tributary to Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, St. Clair, and
Superior or any of them or which comprise part of any watershed draining into any of said lakes.
ARTICLE IV
A. There is hereby created an agency of the party states to be known as The Great Lakes
Commission (hereinafter called the Commission). In that name the commission may sue and
be sued, acquire, hold and convey real and personal property and any interest therein. The
commission shall have a seal with the words "The Great Lakes Commission" and such other
design as it may prescribe engraved thereon by which it shall authenticate its proceedings.
Transactions involving real or personal property shall conform to the laws of the state in which
the property is located, and the commissioner may by bylaws provide for the execution and
acknowledgment of all instruments in its behalf.
B. The commission shall be composed of not less than three commissioners nor more than
five commissioners from each party state designated or appointed in accordance with the law of
the state which they represent and serving and subject to removal in accordance with such law.
C. Each state delegation shall be entitled to three votes in the commission. The presence of
commissioners from a majority of the party states shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of
business at any meeting of the commission. Actions of the commission shall be by a majority
of the votes cast except that any recommendations made pursuant to Article VI of this compact
shall require an affirmative vote of not less than a majority of the votes cast from each of a
majority of the states present and voting.
D. The commissioners of any two or more party states may meet separately to consider
problems of particular interest to their states but no action taken at any such meeting shall be
deemed an action of the commission unless and until the commission shall specifically approve
the same.
E. In the absence of any commissioner, his vote may be cast by another representative or
commissioner of his state provided that said commissioner or other representative casting said
vote shall have a written proxy in proper form as may be required by the commission.
F. The commission shall elect annually from among its members a chairman and
vice-chairman. The commission shall appoint an executive director who shall also act as
secretary-treasurer, and who shall be bonded in such amount as the commission may require. The
executive director shall serve at the pleasure of the commission and at such compensation and
under such terms and conditions as may be fixed by it. The executive director shall be custodian
of the records of the commission with authority to affix the commission's official seal and to attest
to and certify such records or copies thereof.
G. The executive director, subject to the approval of the commission in such cases as its
bylaws may provide, shall appoint and remove or discharge such personnel as may be necessary
for the performance of the commission's functions. Subject to the aforesaid approval, the
executive director may fix their compensation, define their duties, and require bonds of such of
them as the commission may designate.
H. The executive director, on behalf of, as trustee for, and with the approval of the
commission, may borrow, accept, or contract for the services of personnel from any state or
government or any subdivision or agency thereof, from any intergovernmental agency, or from
any institution, person, firm or corporation; and may accept for any of the commission's purposes
and functions under this compact any and all donations, gifts, and grants of money, equipment,
supplies, materials, and services from any state or government or any subdivision or agency
thereof or intergovernmental agency or from any institution, person, firm or corporation and
may receive and utilize the same.
I. The commission may establish and maintain one or more offices for the transacting of
its business and for such purposes the executive director, on behalf of, as trustee for, and with
the approval of the commission, may acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property
necessary to the performance of its functions.
J. No tax levied or imposed by any party state or any political subdivision thereof shall be
deemed to apply to property, transactions, or income of the commission.
K. The commission may adopt, amend and rescind bylaws, rules and regulations for the
conduct of its business.
L. The organization meeting of the commission shall be held within six months from the
effective date of this compact.
M. The commission and its executive director shall make available to the party states any
information within its possession and shall always provide free access to its records by duly
authorized representatives of such party states.
N. The commission shall keep a written record of its meetings and proceedings and shall
annually make a report thereof to be submitted to the duly designated official of each party state.
O. The commission shall make and transmit annually to the legislature and Governor
of each party state a report covering the activities of the commission for the preceding year
and embodying such recommendations as may have been adopted by the commission. The
commission may issue such additional reports as it may deem desirable.
ARTICLE V
A. The members of the commission shall serve without compensation, but the expenses of
each commissioner shall be met by the state which he represents in accordance with the law of
that state. All other expenses incurred by the commission in the course of exercising the powers
conferred upon it by this compact, unless met in some other manner specifically provided by this
compact, shall be paid by the commission out of its own funds.
B. The commission shall submit to the executive head or designated officer of each party
state a budget of its estimated expenditures for such period as may be required by the laws of that
state for presentation to the legislature thereof.
C. Each of the commission's budgets of estimated expenditures shall contain specific
recommendations of the amount or amounts to be appropriated by each of the party states.
Detailed commission budgets shall be recommended by a majority of the votes cast, and the costs
shall be allocated equitably among the party states in accordance with their respective interests.
D. The commission shall not pledge the credit of any party state. The commission may
meet any of its obligations in whole or in part with funds available to it under Article IV (H) of
this compact, provided that the commission takes specific action setting aside such funds prior
to the incurring of any obligations to be met in whole or in part in this manner. Except where
the commission makes use of funds available to it under Article IV (H) hereof, the commission
shall not incur any obligations prior to the allotment of funds by the party states adequate to
meet the same.
E. The commission shall keep accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements. The
receipts and disbursements of the commission shall be subject to the audit and accounting
procedures established under the bylaws. However, all receipts and disbursements of funds
handled by the commission shall be audited yearly by a qualified public accountant and the report
of the audit shall be included in and become a part of the annual report of the commission.
F. The accounts of the commission shall be open at any reasonable time for inspection by
such agency, representative or representatives of the party states as may be duly constituted for
that purpose and by others who may be authorized by the commission.
ARTICLE VI
The commission shall have power to:
A. Collect, correlate, interpret, and report on data relating to the water resources and the use
thereof in the Basin or any portion thereof.
B. Recommend methods for the orderly, efficient, and balanced development, use, and
conservation of the water resources of the Basin or any portion thereof to the party states and
to any other governments or agencies having interests in or jurisdiction over the Basin or any
portion thereof.
C. Consider the need for and desirability of public works and improvements relating to the
water resources in the Basin or any portion thereof.
D. Consider means of improving navigation and port facilities in the Basin or any portion
thereof.
E. Consider means of improving and maintaining the fisheries of the Basin or any portion
thereof.
F. Recommend policies relating to water resources including the institution and alteration of
flood plain and other zoning laws, ordinances and regulations.
G. Recommend uniform or other laws, ordinances, or regulations relating to the development,
use and conservation of the Basin's water resources to the party states or any of them and to other
governments, political subdivisions, agencies or intergovernmental bodies having interests in or
jurisdiction sufficient to affect conditions in the Basin or any portion thereof.
H. Consider and recommend amendments or agreements supplementary to this compact to
the party states or any of them, and assist in the formulation and drafting of such amendments or
supplementary agreements.
I. Prepare and publish reports, bulletins, and publications appropriate to this work and
fix reasonable sale prices therefor.
J. With respect to the water resources of the Basin or any portion thereof, recommend
agreements between the governments of the United States and Canada.
K. Recommend mutual arrangements expressed by concurrent or reciprocal legislation on
the part of Congress and the Parliament of Canada including but not limited to such agreements
and mutual arrangements as are provided for by Article XIII of the Treaty of 1909 Relating to
Boundary Waters and Questions Arising Between the United States and Canada. (Treaty Series,
No. 548.)
L. Cooperate with the governments of the United States and of Canada, the party states and
any public or private agencies or bodies having interests in or jurisdiction sufficient to affect the
Basin or any portion thereof.
M. At the request of the United States, or in the event that a province shall be a party state, at
the request of the Government of Canada, assist in the negotiation and formulation of any treaty
or other mutual arrangement or agreement between the United States and Canada with reference
to the Basin or any portion thereof.
N. Make any recommendation and do all things necessary and proper to carry out the powers
conferred upon the commission by this compact, provided that no action of the commission shall
have the force of law in, or be binding upon, any party state.
ARTICLE VII
Each party state agrees to consider the action the commission recommends in respect to:
A. Stabilization of lake levels.
B. Measures for combating pollution, beach erosion, floods, and shore inundation.
C. Uniformity in navigation regulations within the constitutional powers of the states.
D. Proposed navigation aids and improvements.
E. Uniformity or effective coordinating action in fishing laws and regulations and cooperative
action to eradicate destructive and parasitical forces endangering the fisheries, wild life and
other water resources.
F. Suitable hydroelectric power developments.
G. Cooperative programs for control of soil and bank erosion for the general improvement of
the Basin.
H. Diversion of waters from and into the Basin.
I. Other measures the commission may recommend to the states pursuant to Article VI
of this compact.
ARTICLE VIII
This compact shall continue in force and remain binding upon each party state until
renounced by act of the legislature of such state, in such form and manner as it may choose and
as may be valid and effective to repeal a statute of said state, provided that such renunciation
shall not become effective until six months after notice of such action shall have been officially
communicated in writing to the executive head of the other party states.
ARTICLE IX
It is intended that the provisions of this compact shall be reasonably and liberally construed
to effectuate the purposes thereof. The provisions of this compact shall be severable and if any
phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this compact is declared to be contrary to the constitution
of any party state or of the United States, or in the case of a province, to the British North America
Act of 1867 as amended, or the applicability thereof to any state, agency, person or circumstance
is held invalid, the constitutionality of the remainder of this compact and the applicability thereof
to any state, agency, person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby, provided further that if
this compact shall be held contrary to the constitution of the United States, or in the case of a
province, to the British North America Act of 1867 as amended, or of any party state, the compact
shall remain in full force and effect as to the remaining states and in full force and effect as to
the state affected as to all severable matters.
History: 1955 c 691 s 1; 1984 c 628 art 1 s 1