Midwest Memo: Ohio bill allows businesses to withdraw 5 million gallons a day from Lake Erie

Here are three stories making news across the Midwest today:

1. Ohio wrangles over water rights. Despite the opposition of two former Republican governors, two natural resource directors and environmentalists, the state senate could vote as early as today to approve a bill that allows businesses to withdraw up to 5 million gallons of water per day from Lake Erie. Our partner station Ideastream reports critics of the measure believe it violates the Great Lakes Compact.

2. Chicago mayor seeks union concessions. His predecessor counted on $32 million in labor concessions to balance the 2011 city budget. But with six months remaining in the year, an agreement between Chicago city officials and public employee unions is about to expire. New mayor Rahm Emanuel is negotiating with union leaders to save $16 million over the next six months, WBEZ reports. The current agreement expires Thursday.

3. Moderate growth expected in Upper Midwest. Citing rising employment, expanding manufacturing and increasing consumer spending, the Minneapolis Federal Reserve issued an upbeat economic forecast for the Upper Midwest on Monday. The report predicted moderate growth over the next 12 to 18 months, but drew skepticism from several other economics, who believe data does not support the favorable outlook.

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