The Ohio state senate, and in particular state senator Tim Grendell, continues to be an obstacle in passing the Great Lakes Compact (see this excellent story by Michael Scott of the Cleveland Plain Dealer). The Ohio state house passed the compact in February with leadership from Republicans and Democrats alike. But Senator Grendell claims that the compact infringes on property rights, incorrectly arguing that the compact makes groundwater a public trust resource. Senator Grendell is absolutely right that private landowners in Ohio have a right to the reasonable use of groundwater below their land, just as in every other Great Lakes state. But Senator Grendell is absolutely wrong that the compact infringes on that right. In fact, the compact (section 8.1) expressly states that it shall not be construed to affect, limit, diminish or impair any validly established water rights. Numerous legal experts have debunked Senator Grendell’s arguments, and it’s clear that his opposition is ideological and not based on legal reasoning. Now the question for the leadership in the Ohio Senate is whether they will let one ideologue stand in the way of broad regional consensus and common sense policy.