From an article by Dan Egan in the Superior Telegram:

SUPERIOR — There is indeed a growing awareness of just how precious the Great Lakes are — and will be — in a century in which many are predicting fresh water will become more coveted than oil.

The significance of this can’t be underestimated for a system of linked lakes that hold 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water and 90 percent of the nation’s.

Recognizing the lakes’ ecological and economic value, President George W. Bush this fall signed the Great Lakes Compact, which prohibits most water diversions outside the Great Lakes basin. Bush signed the measure after the compact received overwhelming bipartisan support from the eight Great Lakes state legislatures, as well as the U.S. House and Senate.

Its passage is the latest example of the region becoming increasingly protective of the lakes.

President-elect Barack Obama promised in his campaign to push for $5 billion to help restore the lakes — money he said would be generated by increased taxes on oil and gas companies.

And it was probably no coincidence he pitted the health of the Great Lakes against Big Oil.